Everyone has a hearing journey. Shari Eberts, one of our Board members tells why she supports HLAA, both through annual giving and the Walk4Hearing. Please consider donating to HLAA by making a year-end gift to the annual fund.
Thank you to all of you who have given in the past, perhaps through our appeals or by giving to a walker or team at the Walk4Hearing, or participating as a walker. On behalf of the HLAA Board of Trustees and staff, I wish all of you a happy holiday season.
Why Shari Supports HLAA
Hearing loss can be a lonely proposition. Communication is difficult and often exhausting, even with those closest to you. People don’t always understand the condition and wonder why you can hear them in certain settings, but not in others. It makes an invitation out to dinner, at the movies or at the theater a daunting proposal. Sometimes, it is tempting to just stay home and avoid the whole thing.
That is how it seemed to me in my first few years of living with hearing loss. Not only was conversation becoming more challenging, I was also suffering from stigma and embarrassment. I hid my hearing loss as much as possible and wore my hearing aids only when absolutely necessary. I would not have considered using assistive listening technologies that might draw attention to my condition, even if I had known that they existed. I was following an unhealthy path toward isolation and withdrawal.
HLAA helped me change all that. I found a place where hearing loss was not only accepted, but was the norm. I discovered the power of self-advocacy and the camaraderie of spending time with others who understood my struggles. I picked up communication tips and learned about accommodation options I had not considered. I found real friendships that I cherish today.
I attended my first HLAA Convention in 2015 and from the moment I arrived I was amazed. I had never seen so many people with hearing loss in one place. It was thrilling to realize the depth and breadth of this new community I had joined. The level of hearing accessibility was incredible. I began to understand how much my life would improve if I simply asked for the accommodations I needed. HLAA showed me how to do just that. All this made it easier for me to accept my hearing loss and live well despite it. I gained the confidence to start a blog called LivingWithHearingLoss.com and share my hearing loss journey with the world
Shortly after that first convention, I joined the HLAA Board of Trustees and am proud to support the organization and its many programs for people with hearing loss. The Board takes its job seriously—to hold HLAA true to its strategic intent of enabling people with hearing loss to live life fully and without compromise. There are so many ways HLAA is living up to this goal.
On the national level, HLAA amplifies our voice to fight for equal access for people with hearing loss, and to sponsor scientific studies such as the landmark 2016 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that labeled hearing loss as a public health concern. These efforts help forge government policy decisions and determine future treatment protocols.
Local HLAA Chapters provide information, support, and the joy that comes from acceptance and friendship with others like you. They are not only a vital source of comfort for all of us whenever we struggle with a hearing loss issue, but also provide important advocacy opportunities. The New York City Chapter, to which I belong, helped pass legislation requiring hearing loops in all public assembly areas constructed or renovated with public funds.
HLAA needs our help to do this important work. That is why I not only support HLAA through Board service, but also financially. There is power in numbers—48 million Americans with hearing loss—and we are fortunate we have HLAA to represent our viewpoint.
Shari Eberts not only gives to HLAA through these appeal letters, but she and her family fundraise and walk in the New York City Walk4Hearing. She says, “We participate in the Walk4Hearing to build community and break down stigma surrounding hearing loss.”
Donations from people like you fund HLAA’s tireless efforts on important initiatives that benefit all of us with hearing loss. HLAA helped pass the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 and is giving input to the FDA to ensure it is properly implemented. Your generosity enables HLAA to work with the Department of Transportation to make airline travel more accessible for people with hearing loss both at the airport and in in-flight communication and to ensure the FCC hears from consumers as we work toward the goal of making all cell phones hearing aid compatible.
Your contributions support educational programs such as HLAA’s monthly webinars on a variety of interesting and relevant topics. They enable the publication of its bimonthly magazine Hearing Life and the development of new initiatives such as the HLAA Veterans Across America Virtual Chapter.
Please join me in supporting HLAA’s important work with a year-end donation. Together, we can enable people with hearing loss to live life fully and without compromise.
Join the Legacy Circle
This holiday season, many of our supporters are choosing to give a gift that will have an impact for decades to come. A gift in your Will keeps our mission strong far into the future. If you are interested, please let us know so you can be part of the HLAA Legacy Circle. Send an email to email@example.com.