Be Careful, The Children are Listening

HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley
Barbara Kelley
Executive Director
Hearing Loss Association of America

By Barbara Kelley, Executive Director, Hearing Loss Association of America
Follow Barbara on Twitter, @Bkelley_HLAA.

About five years ago a high school senior, let’s call him Ryan to protect his identity, did some volunteer hours at the HLAA office. Ryan was a smart kid, good character, great personality, but he had a heavy foot on the gas pedal and got a speeding ticket. A compassionate judge required that he do community service instead of taking his license away. My own son was friends with Ryan, so they cooked up a plan for Ryan to do the community service hours with HLAA.

It worked for us because HLAA always needs an extra pair of hands. Ryan showed up, dressed for success, really helped out when we needed it and went off to college after graduation.

Ryan graduated from a top school and is now working his first job as a mortgage banker. By chance, I ran into Ryan’s boss last week, and he said that he and Ryan were working with a client with hearing loss. The boss was a little puzzled by the delay in response by the client on phone calls due to the captioned phone. Ryan, having learned on the job at HLAA, explained this to his boss, suggested they set up virtual meetings with captions and, further, suggested that the firm develop a customer service program focused specifically for people with hearing loss.

How about that? We talk about HLAA’s reach into communities, this time, it was in my own back yard.

At all life stages, communication and good hearing health connect us to each other, our communities, and the world. Don’t let hearing loss limit you — early intervention can ensure that people with hearing loss are able to achieve their full potential. Learn more at

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