A brief history of the HLAA Downeast Chapter follows.
Our President, Pat Dobbs, spearheaded the formation our group in Maine last year. She is a dedicated advocate for people in the USA with hearing loss. She is also president of the SayWhatClub which is a global hearing loss support group.
The purpose and objective of our Chapter is to educate all Mainers about the causes, nature, and complications of hearing loss and what can be done to better cope with that loss.
Our meetings are always open to the public, and captions or other assistive methods are provided.
Margaret Myatt, Andy Chandler, and Thomas Watson III soon agreed to become officers for this group. Via assistance from the folks at the national level of the HLAA, we became an official Chapter early in 2023. “Downeast” was chosen as name since our president lives in that region of Maine, and our other officers reside near the coast too.
- May – introductory online meeting led by Pat.
- June – officers volunteer at in-person meeting in Ellsworth.
- July – Maine Hearing Loss Support Group formed, including on Facebook as “We’re a group of people from Maine that have hearing loss. Our goal is to offer support.”
- Several meetings took place in other months.
- December 8 – our website was created by Margaret, including a list of accessible theaters in New England.
- Also in Dec: online meeting with guest speaker Brad Ingrao, Aud., on `Understanding Your Audiogram’ as well as in-person in Ellsworth with Pat on `Strategies For Dealing With The Holidays`.
- January – reminder posted on our website that Maine requires insurers to provide coverage for hearing aids.
- February 28 – HLAA Downeast Chapter became official.
“Join us as we continue our mission to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, support, and advocacy. Public meetings hosted by us occur online on the second Thursday of even months, as well as on other dates in-person at various places in Maine. Watch our website for details.
- May – in-person meeting in Kennebunkport on `Living With Hearing Loss` by Margaret along with Debra Bare-Rogers of Disability Rights Maine.
July – Andy gave a workshop on `Cybersecurity And Hearing Loss` at the HLAA 2023 Convention.
- Upcoming in 2023:
- Aug 15 – in-person in Ellsworth at 4:00 pm on `How Hearing Loss Affects Family Life` by Pat.
- Sept 9 – in-person in Augusta at Noon for Annual Get-Together.
We will encourage the formation of other chapters in Maine, but for now we serve everyone there. Thank you all for your continued generosity and participation as we strive to improve hearing health as well as accessible and accurate communication in the Pine Tree State.