Virtual Meeting With Special Guest Geoff Plant, Nov. 20, 2021


Boston Chapter HLAA Virtual Meeting

Special guest Geoff Plant from Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation.

The major focus of the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation (HRF) is to support people with hearing loss who have cochlear implants and hearing aids. Although these technologies have improved greatly over the past twenty years, many people with hearing loss still experience difficulties understanding speech.

HRF is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 1996 to provide and promote speech communication training for adults and children with hearing loss.
From the website

Saturday, November 20th from 4-6PM via Zoom

Link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.  Newcomers – please email

Join us to learn about aural rehab, and socialize with peers living with hearing loss.

Open Captions in Theaters are Back! And Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Update

Theaters are opening for live audiences again! The first open captioned performances in our area start this weekend.  There is also good news to share on the OTC hearing aids.

Boston Opera House OC Performances

The following performances have been identified as OC:

  • Hadestown: 11/6/2021
  • Pretty Woman: 1/22/2022
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: 4/9/2022
  • Ain’t Too Proud: 4/23/2022
  • Wicked: 6/11/2022
  • Anastasia: 8/20/2022
  • Hamilton: 1/21/2023 and 3/4/2023

The times and links for tickets are on their website:

  Trinity Rep OC Performances

The following performances have been identified as OC:


  • A Christmas Carol: 11/7, 12/1, 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, and 12/5/2021
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: 1/16, 2/9, 2/10, 2/11, 2/12, and 2/13/2022
  • Gem of the Ocean: 2/27, 3/23, 3/24, 3/25, 3/26, and 3/27/2022
  • Sueno: 4/10, 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 5/7, and 5/8/2022
  • Fairview: 5/22, 6/15, 6/16, 6/17, 6/18, and 6/19/2022

Trinity Rep also has new assistive listening devices.  They offer the RF option where you borrow the new receiver with a headphone or neck loop.  They also offer a new option using the Listen Everywhere app on your own smartphone.  You can see more information about this and the times for the OC performances on their website:

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

The FDA released proposed rules for over-the-counter hearing aids that made national news.  The idea is that people with a mild-to-moderate loss can purchase a low-cost hearing aid that safely amplifies sound with simple tuning across the frequencies.  HLAA supports this effort to improve access to hearing aids and encourage technology innovation that will lower the cost of hearing aids.  There is more information on this ruling and background information on OTC hearing aids on the HLAA website:

PATIO PICNIC PARTY! Saturday September 18, 2021


Saturday, September 18th from 4:00 -6:00 pm

The patio is behind 175 Harvey St. at Cornerstone / Cambridge

Join us for BBQ, socializing, and learning from peers living with hearing loss. Hamburgers/hot dogs, watermelon and beverages provided.

If your last name begins with A-N, please bring a dessert; if M-Z, please bring an appetizer.

 For the safety of all, COVID vaccinations are required.

By car: Please note #175 isn’t on the street. For parking- ignore the “permit parking only” signs because the city has granted an exemption on Harvey and Jackson. Walk up the driveway and the common house is to your right. The patio is on the left side of the common house. From Route 2, the Cornerstone buildings are straight ahead at the end of Jackson.

By the MTA:  Take the red line to Alewife, the last stop. There are exits on both ends of the platform: take the Russell Field/North Cambridge exit. Walk straight so the exit door is behind you and turn left before the field house. Follow the path around two sides of the field to the exit. When you exit onto the street Cornerstone is across the street on your left. Walk down the row of townhouses and turn left on the driveway between #181 and #173. The common house is on your right. It’s about a five-minute walk.

By #77 bus: If heading north toward Arlington: Get off at Cameron Ave. Cross Mass Ave at the light. If heading south toward Harvard Square: Get off at Cedar. You are now at Harvey St. Walk down Harvey St. almost to the end.

You will see two townhouses on the right (#171 and #173). Just past the two townhouses, turn right into the driveway. Our building, #175, is the four-story one to the right.


Would You Enjoy a Book Club With Other Book Lovers with Hearing Loss?

Do you love to read?  Do you love to discuss books?  And, would you love doing it in a setting that is comfortable and safe with others sharing a common bond of hearing loss?

Did you know that the HLAA Boston chapter has a book club that has been meeting monthly, excluding summers, for approximately the last 7 years and we are looking for more members for fall 2021.
We are 7 members now and would like to keep our numbers relatively small (no more than 10), but there is always the possibility of a 2nd group.   Currently, we’ve been meeting remotely, but this could change in the fall depending upon vaccination status.  We choose the books we plan to read for the year in September to make it easier for everyone to obtain the book and we rotate meetings at various members’ houses (carpooling, if necessary).
If you are interested, please contact Sue at

2021 HLAA Virtual Convention

HLAA 2021 virtual convention

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at HLAA’s Virtual Convention where will learn more about the latest in hearing health, and how to live well with hearing loss.

Click here to register!

Please view the following tips for accessing the Showcare virtual platform to guarantee the best viewing experience.

  • If you are registered for the Virtual Convention, check for an email from HLAA Virtual Convention 2021 with instructions on how to access the HLAA Virtual Convention platform. The virtual platform is run by Showcare.
  • The Virtual Convention platform is where you access all sessions and visit the virtual exhibit hall.
  • We highly recommend you activate your account and familiarize yourself with the platform BEFORE the Virtual Convention begins on Thursday, June 24. There will be step-by-step instruction pop-ups when you log in for the first time. We strongly encourage you to follow these instructions.
  • Please note that the virtual platform only supports CHROME, FIREFOX or SAFARI. Microsoft Edge is not supported.
  • For the best experience and to avoid connection issues, it is best to be hardwired (via an ethernet cable to a router), or at least have a strong, reliable Wi-Fi internet connection. It is also recommended that you disconnect from any VPN (i.e., Citrix), as this can block your access to the platform.
  • If you need any help before or during the convention, please email Amanda Watson at

Special Guest Chapter Meeting – Sat., June 12, 2021

ALDA logo

ALDA and Boston Chapter HLAA present
“Meet and Greet with Jeopardy”
Special guest Commissioner Sotonwa
from the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Saturday June 12th, 2021  from 4:00 -6:00 pm via Zoom.  *Link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.  Newcomers – please email

Join us for an interactive Jeopardy game (with questions from the Commissioner himself), plus
socializing and learning from peers living with hearing loss.

Boston Chapter Meeting – Sat., June 12, 2021 4:00 – 6:00 pm

COMING UP!  Boston Chapter HLAA meeting

Saturday June 12th via Zoom*

4:00 – 6:00 pm 

*Link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.  Newcomers – please email

  Join us for socializing and learning from peers living with hearing loss.

Possible presentation by Commissioner Sotonwa from the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  

More details to come!  Mark your calendars!

A New Take on the Audiogram Designed by Someone with Hearing Loss

Thank you to Betty Hauck for highlighting Shari Ebert’s latest blog post at

Betty says, “Some of you may know of Shari Eberts who has been circulating the petition that, along with media coverage, finally got Zoom to agree to provide captioning on free Zoom accounts.

Shari has a terrific blog which I highly recommend, and you can sign up to get a notification every time she has a new post. I’m fascinated by her latest post which is about a new way to visualize the audiogram and is the brainchild of Jay Alan Zimmerman, deaf composer and musician. I never really understood the audiogram even though it’s been explained to me multiple times, but I understood this new one immediately. Instead of depicting the hearing of the individual as a deviation from normal i.e. the loss, it focuses on what hearing the individual DOES have and not just in the range of speech.  I highly recommend reading this blog post:

A New Take on the Audiogram Designed by Someone with Hearing Loss

H.O.P.E – Hearing Our Personal Experiences – April 17, 2021

Save the Date Boston Chapter Meeting

Saturday April 17, 2021 via Zoom*
4:00 -6:00 pm

H.O.P.E- Hearing Our Personal Experiences

*Link to be sent at later date to Hear@Boston members and friends. Newcomers and visitors please email to receive the link.

Join us for a time of reflection, listening and sharing about living with hearing loss, especially during mask-wearing times.

Explore the world of captions, pros and cons, and all the ways to capture it.

All are invited to contribute to conversation, but not obligated.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,”…

-Emily Dickinson

HLAA Boston Chapter Board
Liz, Sue, Barbara and Carol

Zoom Makes ASR Captioning Free for People with Hearing Loss

Good News! Thanks to a campaign spearheaded by HLAA’s  Shari Eberts, Zoom has agreed to provide captions on free accounts.  [Below is from Shari’s blog, “Living With Hearing Loss” From ]

Success! Zoom has heard our community’s voice!

Zoom just announced it will provide its high-quality ASR captions (Live Transcript) FREE for people with hearing loss, as well as other groups who require this feature for accessibility reasons. Click here to request access. This feature will be rolled out to all free accounts by Fall 2021.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been asking Zoom to do just this. We explained that captions are our ramps and that we should not be forced to pay for the accessibility feature that we need to communicate well on Zoom. They have heeded our call.

Advocacy works!

Thank you to NPR (NPR interview) and the Washington Post (op-ed) for helping to highlight this issue. Our petition Provide Free Captions for People with Hearing Loss on Video Conferencing Platforms garnered 80,000 signatures. I am so proud of the way our hearing loss community has come together to advocate for our needs.

Read Zoom’s Update on Live Transcription for Free Accounts for more details. The link for early access for people with hearing loss is here.

Thank you Zoom for recognizing the needs of people with hearing loss and for taking steps to make your platform more accessible at no additional cost.

What’s Next?

This update will provide captions for calls that we initiate, but an equally challenging problem for people with hearing loss is the lack of captions on Zoom calls and webinars that we do not host. Currently, it is a convoluted process. You must request that the host turn on Live Transcript. Often this requires that someone in the IT department of the company/school/non-profit enable the Live Transcript setting in the organization’s main Zoom account. In a large company or university, it can be difficult to determine who that might be, even for those within the organization. In my experience, the meeting host often gives up in frustration, leaving us without the captions we need.

I have made Zoom aware of this issue and they are considering enabling Live Transcript to default to ON for all video calls, so the captions are always available to us if we need them. All we would need to do is turn them on from our screen — empowering us to control our accessibility, rather than relying on someone else to provide it. The timing for this is unclear.

There is still much work to do on making all video communications across all platforms, formats and delivery methods more accessible for people with hearing loss. But here, we have taken an important first step. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who raised their voice to advocate for our needs.

Readers, will you sign up for free ASR captions on your Zoom account?