President’s Letter

By Dan Brooks, President, HLAA NYSA

So how are things going?  As you know much has changed with everyday life due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.  As a result many things came to a halt.  Now we are asked to stay home to help reduce the spread of the virus and exercise social distancing. 

Almost overnight many were told to work from home and become homeschool teachers.  Like many that is exactly what happened to me.  I am not complaining but this is a huge adjustment for anyone.  It really is a nerve racking time especially with all the uncertainty and information going around with hearing loss.  The biggest adjustment for me is trying to stay engaged for my work and HLAA.  Trying to figure out how to keep business as usual has been an upward challenge especially due to having hearing loss for a variety of reasons.  

So I took it upon myself to try to figure out ways to stay connected despite my hearing loss.  Zoom for many seems to be one of the greatest tools to stay connected and continue to do what we do professionally.  Many are even using Zoom to stay connected with family and friends.  Being able to “see” one another virtually helps all of us to stay in touch visually. However having hearing loss creates communication barriers where it is hard to understand what is being said during these Zoom virtual meetings.  

We do have options such as requesting Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services in conjunction with the Zoom meetings but that can be quite costly.  One hour of CART services can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour.  For many this is not an affordable option.  With that being said, we try to resort to options that are less expensive or better yet free.  Well I have done just that!  I was able to create a setup utilizing a FREE caption app.  I went with Live Transcribe that is Android based due to its high accuracy.  However there are other caption apps that are decent such as Otter which is Apple based.  They each have their own sets of pros and cons.

Because of this setup HLAA NYSA and HLAA Rochester Chapter, where I am from, are able to meet virtually and try to keep things moving along.  If you or your chapter would like to learn more please feel free to send an email to one of two emails listed below.       

Now getting back to updates concerning HLAA NYSA. We did have our first remote board meeting this past February.  Most of the board members and officers were present on the call.  All the committees reported what they are working on and where they were.  Due to COVID-19 some things have been put on hold or slowed down while others have picked up more due to having more free time.    

Next month I am hopeful to be able to report more…but wanted to make sure accessible communications was still occurring for all of our HLAA NYSA members.  Our mission of improving everyday life in general for those with hearing loss never ceases!

With that said, please support us by joining or renewing your membership with HLAA.  By joining HLAA and living in New York State you automatically become a member of the HLAA New York State Association.  Please feel free to reach out to me at: hlaa.newyorkstate@gmail.com or dbrooks.hlaa.roc@gmail.com  Stay well!

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