HLAA Convention 2018

WID staff member, Josephine Schallehn, attended the 2018 Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention. The following are her highlights of the event.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention in Minneapolis, MN, which offers myriad educational workshops on hearing loss, in addition to showcasing the latest technology and services for people with hearing loss. And needless to say, all presentations were real-time captioned, and the presentation rooms were looped, so attendees could listen to the workshops using the T-coil setting on their hearing aids or cochlear implants. (Learn more about loops here.)

A man speaks to the audience, captions onscreen to his right, an ASL interpreter woman to his left
The research symposium, “Listening in Noise,” with Andrew Oxenham, M.D. moderating and presenting | Photo by WID

One of the highlights of the convention was attending the research symposium, which focused on current and future approaches to one of the most vexing and frustrating issues that people with hearing loss encounter: how to listen and understand speech in noisy environments, a challenge that is also often referred to as the “cocktail noise problem.” Five experts from various fields represented on current research that may improve the circuitry used in hearing aids and cochlear implants to reduce/cancel noise. While the presentations were extremely informative and valuable and made excellent use of combining auditory and visual materials, they were nevertheless quite scientific. And the total length of the symposium was three hours.

Luckily, HLAA hosted an excellent one-hour webinar in August that succinctly recapped the crucial points presenters had made and how their research and findings may impact future development of hearing aids and cochlear implants. The consumer-friendly webinar can be replayed at any time, and it even includes a version of one of my favorite short videos shown during the symposium, i.e., a dancing outer hair cell.  The link to the webinar also allows for downloading the PDF used during the webinar.

Three people stand onstage and hold an award
Barbara Kelly of HLAA (center) with the rep from Galapro to her left and Kyle Wright from The Shubert Organization to her right | Photo by HLAA

“Radical Hospitality: Technology Solutions for Audience Inclusivity” was the other highlight and a total surprise at that because if The Shubert Organization and Galapro hadn’t been one of the awardees honored during the opening session of the convention, I wouldn’t have found out about how the app Galapro was developed. And I also wouldn’t have changed my workshop selection for Saturday morning and enjoyed a very informative and funny presentation given by Kyle Wright, Director of Digital Projects at The Shubert Organization.

The Shubert Organization, which owns the majority of theaters on Broadway, uses the Galapro to make live theater and opera performances accessible to everyone.  Theatergoers can download Galapro’s app to their own mobile devices and access subtitles in multiple languages, audio descriptions, closed captioning, and amplification during the performance. I haven’t been to a live performance in decades because, as a hard-of-hearing individual, not being able to follow a live performance is a major concern for me. However, Galapro promises to make live performances accessible to all. Most theaters and live performance venues likely have not heard about Galapro, and here is an excellent advocacy opportunity to let them know that the app exists by pointing them to The Shubert Organization and Kyle Wright if they are interested in finding out what is involved in bringing this cost-effective, mobile, and simple solution to their venues.

A crowded room with several presentation screens, an ASL interpreter, and captioning on the screens
One of the workshops | Photo by WID

Main content end

Words from our International fellows banner; graphic of blue world, white paper with blue lines, and white airplane on red background

Words from Our International Fellows

WID has had the incredible honor of working with some of the world’s most innovative young leaders in the disability rights arena. This page highlights our fellows from 2015 onward. To hear about the experience in the fellows’ own words, continue reading.

Amrita Gyawali

2018 Long-Term CSP Fellow from Nepal
PSA video #1 below:

Roshan Samarawickrama

2016 Long-Term CSP Fellow from Sri Lanka

Mauot Anyang

2016 Long-Term YALI Fellow from South Sudan

Feri Gwata and Temitope Okupe

2016 Short-Term YALI Fellows from Zimbabwe (Feri) and Nigeria (Temitope)

Alieu Jaiteh

2015 Long-Term YALI Fellow from The Gambia
Video interview below:

Main content end

Workplace Pathways to Employment

There are various agencies and organizations that can help with your employment search. This content reviews secondary transition programs; post-secondary education programs; career fairs; internships; state departments of rehabilitation; and other community based programs. In addition, it reviews adjustments to existing programs, such as supported employment and customized employment.

Part II-Workplace Pathways to Employment (PDF)


Workshop #7: Workplace Pathways to Employment (PDF)

Main content end

Workplace Job Searching Strategies

Finding a job is a job in and of itself. You need to learn this reality and the related skills in order to be successful. This content covers the basics about how to prepare yourself for the process, as well as the art of networking; your virtual look; resumes; cover letters; preparation and practice; taking the stage; and the subtleties of the job interview.

Part II-Workplace Job Searching Strategies (PDF)


Workshop #6: Workplace Job Searching Strategies (PDF)

Main content end

Workplace Patterns

As we know, people are called “individuals” because each person is different. Each person has unique tendencies, traits, or styles that make them who they are. This is true in school, in your community, and, of course, in the workplace. The more you understand about these differences, the better equipped and prepared you’ll be to effectively communicate and work with each individual you meet.

The purpose of this content is to discuss these differences. Just because people are different from each other and from you, it doesn’t mean that they are less capable. It just means that they see things from a different experience, culture, or perception. When you learn how to understand some of these differences, you’ll begin to recognize that these differences make for richer work teams and broader perspectives, both of which most often lead to better results for an organization when all its individuals work together effectively.

Part II-Workplace Patterns (PDF)


Workshop #5: Workplace Patterns (PDF)

Main content end

Workplace Job Skills

You need to discover, define, and learn how to effectively communicate your job technical or hard skills to get the job you want. While you’re not a product, you are selling your labor in the competitive marketplace. And, you’re competing with other similar products (other job seekers) to get the sale (job). As a result, you must further prepare yourself to be able to explain why your labor is something the employer should buy (hire) over other job candidates.  This content will teach you how to identify, understand, and communicate effectively what exactly you can do for an employer.

Part II-Workplace Job Skills (PDF)


Workshop #4: Workplace Job Skills (PDF)

Main content end

Workplace Practices

Employees who are successful quickly learned the key “tricks of the trade” or the workplace rules of the road discussed in this content. Employees who don’t quickly learn these rules most often get in trouble. The interesting thing about these workplace rules is that nobody ever teaches them to you before you go to the world of work. Either you learn them through trial and error or not at all, in which case you will likely end up failing in your job.

In any case, for most new workers, it takes a long time, as well as repeated mistakes, before they understand the value of these workplace rules. In other words, you usually learn them the hard way by making mistakes. That’s too bad because you can avoid these mistakes with some basic instruction on what the key practices are. Failure to learn them before you begin your career often results in delayed advancement, lost opportunities, or even getting fired. Fortunately, you can avoid these rookie mistakes if you study, learn, and follow these workplace practices sooner rather than later.

Part II-Workplace Practices (PDF)


Workshop #3: Workplace Practices (PDF)

Main content end

Workplace Presence

Getting a job or promotion depends on making a good impression on the person who will make the decision to hire or advance you. Workplace presence is your professional “like-ability.” Do people find you interesting, talkative, attentive, funny, warm, nice, thoughtful, well groomed, appropriately dressed, etc.? If they do, they’ll begin to like you more than if you were not these things. When this begins to happen you’re on your way to convincing them that they want to work with you. Learn how to show a potential employer your workplace presence or like-ability as the first step in convincing them to hire you. Remember, when the door closes on the interview room, it’s just you with the job interviewer. The power of your workplace presence is a very important factor in getting the job you want.

Part II-Workplace Presence (PDF)


Workshop #2: Workplace Presence (PDF)

Main content end

The Disability Factor

Having a known or visible disability can often create negative reactions or understandings about your employment potential. This is especially true if you express yourself in ways which reinforce these stereotypes. People, including many employers, may make inaccurate assumptions about what your potential is when they learn that you have a disability. These reactions can often be negative, so building your professional skills must start here.

This content explores the various ways you can best represent your disability in the world of work. The ideas and approaches that follow can vary based on your style and personality. Accept these ideas as important considerations in order to present yourself in the best possible way. Take these concepts as starting points for you to refine further in the ways that are most comfortable for you. One word of caution, however: while you can adapt these techniques to your circumstances, you should try not to stray too far from the basic truths and realities these practices represent.

Part I- The Disability Factor (PDF)


Workshop #1: Managing Your Disability in Competitive Employment (PDF)

Main content end