Get in the Hearing Loop Honors IHLMA

The International Hearing Loop Manufacturers Association (IHLMA) has joined the Get in the Hearing Loop movement, and IHLMA was honored by Cheri Perazzoli and the Get in the Hearing Loop leaders at the 2019 HLAA convention in Rochester, New York this summer.

The IHLMA aims to “support good quality loop installations around the world,” and is available to support and guide anyone interested in hearing loop systems. The association members adhere to a a code of conduct, and they offer technical resources and standards.

Members of IHLMA include….

Ampetronic    
Bo-Edin (Univox)     
Clear Audio Systems 
Contacta       
Conversor   
C-TEC   
Geemarc Telecom 
Hearing Products International 
HumanTechnik  
OPUS Technologies    
OTOjOY    
Sarabec 
Signet (AC)    
Williams Sound   

 – Manufacturer
 – Installer
 – Consultant
– Distributor
 – Training
 – Designer
 – Maintenance

IHLMA’s offices are based in Gloucester, UK. You can reach them at admin@ihlma.org, or for technical advice, technical@ihlma.org

 

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Lincoln Theatre Loop Still Going Strong

We were copied on this lovely note to Roger at the Lincoln Theatre from hearing loss advocates Jerry and Joanna Olmstead.

The Lincoln Theatre in Mt. Vernon was looped earlier this year—read more about it here.

You never know how many lives you touch with that simple copper loop, but notes like this remind you of why this work matters.

note from Jerry and Joanna
Click to enlarge.

 

 

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What hearing loss is really like: Kimberly Parker gives a rare workshop

kimberly 48 million

Kimberly Parker at the Poulsbo Library, September 21, 2019.

If you’ve seen Kimberly Parker’s one-woman show Lost in Sound, you know how talented and wise she is—and how powerfully she conveys the experiences of people with hearing loss through drama, story, and song. She’s also one of the stars of the Like the Mic video produced by Rooted in Rights.

On September 21, 2019, Kimberly brought her insights to the Poulsbo Library to present a rare workshop. She shared her own journey, which began with a genetic form of hearing loss–long undetected–that progressed to deafness at age 40, and then her experiences after her cochlear implant. 

Kimberly the young mom

Kimberly Parker as a young woman.

She also gave communication strategies and resources to help people with hearing loss determine how they can best move forward in their journey.

To provide the very best hearing access, a temporary loop (from Steve Peck–thank you!), CART, and ASL were available.

Kimberly credits HLAA for supporting her hearing loss path,  and we at HLAA-WA and Loop Seattle credit Kimberly for being a tremendous advocate and performer, shining the light on hearing loss in unique and relatable ways.

Thank you to the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) for arranging this talk, especially Di Cinney, who attended in person. We’re proud to be your partner in serving Washigntonians with hearing loss.

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A small-town theatre invests big in a hearing loop

Mount Vernon 6

Do you love old theatres as much as we do? Especially theatres with springy seats, ornate artwork, tall curtains, the faint smell of popcorn, and a rich history of creating memories for their communities, however big or small?

Sometimes, though, these grand spaces don’t have the best acoustics. Not so for the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, Washington: this beautiful venue is now in the loop.

Mount Vernon 7

The Lincoln Theatre, a restored 1926 historic vaudeville and silent movie housepresents a year-round schedule of concerts, current and classic films, and community and fundraising events. The theatre works with local school districts, hosting school performances and workshops by performing artists on tour. The local youth symphony plays at the Lincoln, as does a community-sponsored children’s theatre. Currently, the theater seats 489 and still houses the original 1926 Wurlitzer organ.

In January 2014, Jerry and Joanna Olmstead, award-winning hearing access heroes with  10 years’ loop advocacy experience (!), began the project by meeting with the folks at the Lincoln.  Later, the Sound + Hearing Campaign was born, led by The Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation. The campaign was successful in gaining donations and finally in establishing a high-quality audio and a loop system.

Mount Vernon 1

Lincoln Theatre also provides mobility accessibility for guests and performers–a lift gives performers wheelchair access to the stage, and guests .  Closed captioning devises and other assisted listening devises are also available.

Roger Gietzen, Lincoln Theatre Executive Director, is key in making the project come to life. Thank you, Roger. And thank you to the Olmsteads and to all who donated to enrich this wonderful community space, making it hearing-friendly and welcoming to all.

Mount Vernon 8 colorful

Venue Information:
Lincoln Theatre

712 S 1st Street
Mt. Vernon, WA
360-336-8955
Roger Gietzen, Executive Director
roger@lincolntheatre.org
Mount Vernon is roughly two hours north of Seattle.

Loop Installer:
Dimensional Communications, Inc.
Audio Visual Consultant
1214 Anderson RD.
Mt. Vernon, WA
360-424-6164

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Online Captioning Study

If you’re hard of hearing or deaf and you use captions while meeting online, you may qualify for a University of Washington study.

The UW is looking for groups of 3-5 people with at least one Deaf or hard of hearing person. The group should meet regularly and use online captions.

The study groups will meet just three times, and the study pays $125 for each participant.

Read more on this flyer, and sign up to join the study.

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Member Spotlight: Abha Sharma, Research Scientist, Artist, and Writer

Abha Sharma’s hearing loss began in childhood, but she was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss only in her early teen years. Meanwhile, she had taught herself to read lips at a very young age and managed to get by. Staunchly supported and encouraged by her parents, especially her father, Abha persevered with her studies and completed her PhD in Biophysics from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. It was here that she met her husband, Rajendra, also a scientist. Together, the two of them and their two young children traversed some tough times and finalized their immigration process to Texas in 2007. In 2014, they moved to Seattle.

Today, Dr. Sharma is a research scientist at the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. When she is not at her UW lab, she loves to write. Currently, she is working on a memoir of hearing loss experiences that have enriched her life.  Some of her articles have already been published: “Puja with Mother,”Barter Beads,” “Kitaab” and lately, “Why don’t you repeat what I just said?. More recently, Abha was selected as a semi-finalist in the She Writes Press and SparkPress Towards Diversity in Publishing contest.

Around 2010, Abha discovered HLAA and soon became a member. Attending her first Chapter meeting was a life-changing event. In 2013, she served as a Board Officer for the Fort Worth Chapter in Texas. Later that year, she attended her first HLAA convention in Portland. She began reading HLAA’s Hearing Life magazine, which was another turning point for her. She now understood why she did not like big gatherings and offered to wash dishes at get-togethers. Listening was exhausting! Washing dishes was easier.

Abha is very grateful to HLAA; it has taught her to take better care of herself and her hearing needs as well as improving upon strategies for communication.

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In Memory of Bill Collison

Bill Collison, HLAA-WA treasurer and friend to all with hearing loss, with his wife, Aundie.

In May 2021, Bill Collison passed away, and the world lost a kind, generous man who was a friend to everyone with hearing loss.

Bill served as HLAA-WA treasurer at the time of his death. To honor Bill’s vision and to ensure everyone could hear he service clearly, Bill’s family worked with us to make sure the celebration of his life was hearing-friendly. A microphone was used by all presenters, live captions were projected for all to read, and an FM assistive listening system was available. You can watch a recording of the beautiful, touching service here.

Bill’s family suggested that donations in his memory be sent to HLAA-WA. If you’d like to donate, you may send donations to HLAA-Washington, PO Box 265, Redmond, Washington, 98073-0265. A form is available here, if you like.

We’re touched by and grateful to Bill’s family, and we’re honored to carry Bill’s work forward by ensuring that people with hearing loss across our state are encouraged, empowered, and supported to live their lives to the fullest.

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Captions Now Required on Televisions in Public in Washington State. Here Are the Details.

Captions are now required on all televisions in public spaces across Washington State, thanks to the passage of Washington State Senate Bill 5027.

That means that in public places—think bars, restaurants, lobbies, salons, and transportation hubs–if there are televisions, captions must be turned on as the default. People with hearing loss shouldn’t have to request captions–they should be the default.

There are a few exceptions, such as if a television isn’t caption-capable, or if a another federal or state law exempts the business. But in most cases, captions should be always on.

For more information, please see below for an excellent presentation for businesses and employees from Deborah O’Willow at the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), and a guide from the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The law takes effect July 25, 2021, and venues have until October 23, 2021 to be in compliance.

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New Hearing Loop Requirements from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

A photo looking out from an airport terminal window. The nose of the blue plane is prominent. Chairs are on both sides of the terminal window.

Hearing loops will be required at New York and New Jersey airline gates and information counters at airports, bus, rail, and ferry facilities, thanks to updated accessibility guidelines from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Loops are not, at this time, required at ticket or service counters, such as baggage or rental cars.

At airport passenger gates, loops must transmit all audible announcements, unless the loop is required to be in the floor for effectiveness and the installation would compromise the structural integrity of the floor. Loops will be required to adhere to the IEC-60118-4 guidelines.

The new requirements, released in an October 2020 manual, were established in conjunction with disability groups. To view the manual on the Port Authority site, click on Documents, then Supplemental Accessibility Requirements, then Manual.

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