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Hearing Loss Seminar Oct. 5
Daylong event aimed at those suffering hearing loss & their families
Jennifer Rodrigues

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Hearing Loss Association of Rhode Island (HLA-RI) will host a special seminar to help those suffering from hearing loss and their loved ones.

“Knowledge and Intervention: Special Program on Understanding Hearing Loss” is a free program featuring presentations from two experts in the field of hearing loss, providing their expertise to Rhode Islanders. The program will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The program is intended to provide information and understanding regarding hearing loss and its impact of those suffering from it.

“For those who experience hearing loss later in life, it can be difficult to interact with family, friends and co-workers,” said Tina Thompson, coordinator for HLA-RI. “While the Internet provides the illusion of vast information, it can be a daunting task to find the right information that helps people like us who interact in a hearing world with less hearing.”

Thompson also pointed out that events like this provide a community for those with hearing loss to connect with.

“It is important for people to meet other people who have hearing loss,” she said. “We learn from each other as we share best practices and coping strategies.”

Thompson said “Knowledge and Intervention” is a special treat because the Crowne Plaza is hearing accessible. All words spoken by the two guest speakers will be put into Computer Aided Real Time by a trained stenographer and words will be displayed on a screen at the front of the room so all can understand the information.

“We hope that people walk away with a better understanding of hearing loss and armed with better communication strategies and techniques. This program will help people understand how hearing loss can be managed through hearing aids and aural rehabilitation,” added Thompson.

She said the last event of this magnitude was hosted in May 2006 but normally the events are on a much smaller scale, hosted at the Warwick Public Library.

“Most of our events are smaller scale with a local speaker for two to three hours, discussing specific topics such as hearing aids, cell phones that work with hearing aids, cochlear implant technology, coping skills, assistive technology and hearing ear dogs,” explained Thompson.

This year’s event is much larger in scale, featuring two expert speakers during the six-and-a-half-hour event.

Dr. Douglas Beck, an author of more than 170 articles in professional literature and 745 abstracts, interviews and op-eds for American Academy of Audiology on a variety of topics, will open the event with a discussion on “Issues in Hearing, Listening and Cognition.” Beck is now an adjunct professor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, but he had previously worked at the American Academy of Audiology, House Ear Institute, Saint Louis University and had his own private audiology-based hearing aid dispensing practice in St. Louis.

Kathleen M. Cienkowski, Ph.D., an associate professor and program director of Audiology at the University of Connecticut, studies speech perception for those who are hearing-impaired, especially the elderly. She also studies the use of hearing aids to improve understanding.

In addition to speakers, a number of vendors and suppliers will be at the event to offer their expertise. Businesses and organizations that will be present include event sponsor Hamilton Relay, event sponsor Caption Call, Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Newport Hospital, Harris Communications, Trinity Repertory Theater and Adaptive Telephone Equipment Loan Program.

HLA-RI was founded in 1990 as an affiliate of the Hearing Loss Association of America, formerly Self Help for the Hard of Hearing, which was founded in 1979. Representatives from HLA-RI will also have a table at the event to provide information about their organization and upcoming events.

Registration for “Knowledge and Intervention: A Special Program on Understanding Hearing Loss” will end on Friday, Sept. 20. Although there is no cost for the event, registration is required for breakfast and lunch purposes. To register, send an e-mail to HLARhodeIsland@aol.com.


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