By Ron Hendricks

Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter (HLAA) celebrates 25 years of service to Oklahomans.
HLAA is a 501(c)(3) group that exists to support those who have a hearing loss. HLAA is a support group, but is so much more. HLAA educates people with hearing loss to help them learn to live successfully in a hearing world. HLAA lobbies locally and nationally for Medicare and insurance support for hearing aids. Hearing loss is a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. HLAA offers information on listening assistive devices thru the Faye Donalson Hearing Helpers Room. HLAA gives scholarships to students desiring a higher education.
Hearing Loss Association exists for the purpose of creating a safe place for those with hearing loss and those who love ‘em to gather and talk about hearing loss and many other subjects of interest. We offer a safe place for our members to learn to get along in a hearing world. Our national association, Hearing Loss Association of America is a major lobbying organization. They have worked; to get our Congress to enact legislation to include hearing aids in insurance policies; to get movies and TV to caption their products; to reach out to the military to assist returning GIs; create awareness among the general population of the needs of the hearing impaired; to the professionals in the hearing industry; to business & local governments to create hearing friendly environments for people with hearing loss and on and on and on. Our local group is an extension of all that.
An ice cream social will mark HLA’s 25th Anniversary. The social will be held on August 6th, 2-4PM, at the Lakeside Methodist Church, 2925 NW 66, OKC., Oklahoma City and is open to the public at no admission charge. At that time HLAA will also recognize the two scholarship winners, Ashton Darling attending Oklahoma State University and Shaun Bainter who will be attending Oklahoma University.
There was recently a cartoon published where a husband and wife were sitting on the couch. He said to her, “Turn on the light, please, so I can hear you.” She responded, “I know what you mean, I can’t hear you without my glasses.” It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that something like one million Oklahomans live with a hearing loss. Many Oklahomans with hearing loss will augment what hearing they have by reading lips. So do your friends a favor by not covering your mouth when you speak, and look at them when you talk, that is only a common courtesy any way.
Summer is fast approaching and activities loom on the horizon — concerts, plays, lake and pool activities, and many more. But, imagine that you can only partially hear the music, the laughter of friends, or that you miss out on family conversations around the dinner table. Hearing loss is a major, and invisible, problem. Hearing loss is no respecter of age, race, or sex. Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter (HLAA) has been working for 25 years to help those with a hearing loss live in a hearing world.
May was good hearing month so HLAA asks, “What have you done to protect your hearing?” Our hearing is assaulted daily by damaging sounds. The sound of a lawn mower is enough to cause hearing damage. Imagine what loud music introduced directly into the ear with ear buds might so. Concerts, motors, even driving with the windows down create enough noise to harm your ears. There are several ways to protect your hearing; move away from the sound, turn down the volume, or wear some hearing protection are just a few.
Many ignore the fact that they are having problems hearing. Do you find that you often ask others to repeat themselves? Do people tell you that you have the TV turned too loud? Does everyone mumble? May be it is time to admit that your hearing is getting weak. HLAA encourages you to see a hearing professional. HLAA can assist if you have questions. Yes hearing aids are expensive and in most cases health insurance is no help. HLAA is working to encourage insurance companies to cover the cost of hearing exams and hearing aids.
Hearing loss will continue to grow in the future with thousands of our finest young men and women returning from active military duty. Hearing loss the most prevalent injury among returning veterans so HLAA is very actively developing programs to assist the veteran.
The annual national HLAA convention is held each June to highlight and inform members of technical and medical advancements in the hearing industry. Nationally known speakers, workshops, and Continuing Education Units are a major part of the convention. The Central Oklahoma Chapter is proud to announce that one of our members, Wanda Evans, received an award for Spirit of HLAA at the most recent convention. HLAA offers 17 awards nationally and our local chapter regularly brings home awards.
Central Oklahoma Chapter of HLAA is extremely proud of our Faye Donalson Hearing Helper’s Room. The Hearing Helper’s Room (HHR) displays many assistive listening devices and is staffed entirely by volunteers. We think this is the only facility like it in the entire country. Yes there are other places where you can see and buy items but these ‘stores’ are normally operated as a business or governmental agency and have a paid staff. Our HHR is a demonstration room only. You cannot buy anything here. You may take an item home for a trial at your leisure. If you have questions the volunteers are extremely knowledgeable and are able to direct you to a professional for assistance. The HHR was established 18 years ago by our member, Faye Donalson and we are proud to have her name on our door.
The Mission Statement of Hearing Loss Association of America states that our goal is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA’s primary purpose is to educate ourselves, our families, friends, coworkers, teachers, hearing health care providers, industry, government, and others about hearing loss. And we advocate for communication access in the workplace, hotels, schools, court systems, medical, and entertainment facilities. We invite you to be a part of HLAA. Visit our website at