I am honored to be the HLAA Diablo Valley Chapter Walk4Hearing Team Captain for 2021.
As many of you may remember, I raised money for another Walk Team in 2003. At that time, my hearing loss was just starting to affect my life. I could not understand my small grandchildren. I had a hearing test, and it confirmed I had some hearing loss, but I didn’t get hearing aids until 2010.
After I got hearing aids, I was frustrated with the results because I didn’t hear as well as I hoped. I thought hearing aids were like glasses, and I would get 20/20 hearing. A Hearing Loss Association of America Diablo Valley Chapter (HLAA DV) information booth was set up at the Walnut Creek Farmers’ Market. Bob, my gregarious husband, went over and introduced himself and said, “Boy, does my wife need to talk to you!” Bob introduced me to Ann Thomas, President, to the Diablo Valley Chapter, and my life with hearing loss began to improve.
In 2010, I started attending HLAA DV chapter meetings, and from the education and support I received, I learned that hearing aids are a tool to help improve your hearing, but they don’t fix your hearing. In some situations, I would need to use additional hearing assistive technology. I learned how to ask for that additional assistance, tips for how to help others communicate with me, and that hearing loss is a family and community affair. The last 11 years have been filled with adventure and heartwarming experiences because I can participate fully.
The HLAA DV chapter meetings are fully accessible to people with hearing loss by providing captions and a hearing loop assistive listening system. On average, the HLAA DV chapter participates in five public outreach events a year, like the one at the Walnut Creek Farmers’ Market spreading the word, you are not alone, and you can learn how to live well with hearing loss.
The pandemic altered in our education and advocacy efforts, but we are resilient and have continued to host monthly captioned virtual chapter meetings via Zoom.
Our organization’s educating and advocacy efforts are far-reaching and have affected the quality of life for thousands of children, women, and men.
I hope you will join me in supporting HLAA Diablo Valley Chapter and the over 48 million people with hearing loss in the US who could benefit from our outreach.