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I am sure I will get asked this question a lot as I begin to tout the name "HLAA" (Hearing Loss Association of America) around our community so I will explain here; ALL of the facts are from the HLAA website itself or from an experienced individual that I have been in contact with who has been with the HLAA for years. I also expect to get other questions such as "why HLAA if we have DSSO (Deaf Strong of Southern Oregon)?" so I will address these two questions to the best of my knowledge and abilities without fudging the facts.
At the end of this blog post I will list several URLs/websites and Facebook pages & groups you may want to visit related to hearing loss in general and I will give you two individuals you may contact directly for more information about HLAA and/or DSSO.
The first question to address is: What can HLAA do for you?
The First part of my answer is: what do all the organizations that provide support do? They educate; education is good! We can learn a lot about options available to us that might fit our needs and serve the communities that we live in. They teach us what we need to know, our rights, technology, financial assistance, and information about other organizations that specialize further (such as QNAP whom provides communication equipment for those with hearing loss in Oregon and Lions Clubs International whom distribute donated hearing aids and glasses).
The biggest thing that HLAA can do for you aside from getting information is being with like-minded people who have similar concerns and experiences as you do and having someone there who can share with you because you are not alone! HLAA can also provide resources for parents with children who have a hearing loss whether it be additional equipment to compliment their hearing aids or Cochlear Implant(s) or any other adaptive equipment a child with hearing loss might need.
The second question about why HLAA if we already have DSSO? Deaf Strong of Southern Oregon (formerly Deaf Services of Southern Oregon). Both of these organizations aim to educate, support, and advocate for people with hearing loss (adults and children alike). The main difference between these two organizations is that DSSO caters to the local community and connects with other organizations throughout the state such as Oregon Association for the Deaf which HLAA Oregon has worked with according to Richard Little whom is the HLAA Oregon coordinator; however HLAA is a national organization which has several chapters in several states focusing specifically on hearing loss while making connections with legislators in lawmaking, HLAA is not directly social (although many chapters do provide some socialization on the side. DSSO does a lot of family and deaf related activities for those who are deaf and hard of hearing in the local community that DSSO serves).
I have not been to an HLAA meeting as of yet, but I hope to soon so I cannot give you more information beyond what I know from the websites and individuals I have talked with. In the end, how does this help us? More knowledge, more resources more power to us to make informed decisions.
Information about this article:
Who is the HLAA?
Richard Little (Oregon HLAA coordinator)
DSSO Information (a DSSO representative/staff will contact you)
If you are not comfortable contacting either of these individuals you can contact me directly via this blog, post a comment on this article, via Facebook or Twitter and I can pass on your questions or concerns to them if you choose or I can act as a go between as long as the information can be easily conveyed.
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