to enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of the North Shore of Long Island where I became the men's clothing buyer for a chain of local department stores..
In 1994 we left the Island for the Land of Enchantment and retirement that opened new doors for me in the area of public service that I had left behind in Nebraska. Soon after arriving in New Mexico I began devoting a good deal of my time to two issues that impact the quality of life for many but that are especially problematic too those who have reached retirement age - excessive noise and hearing loss.
To deal with noise issues I organized the Citizens for a Quite Environment, a nonprofit advocacy group that raised awareness of noise pollution in what the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (NPC) calls the "Soundscape". Through the cooperation of the print media, CQE was able to raise awareness of noise pollution and the negative effect it has on the quality of life of the general public in Albuquerque. One report of the group's activities is still posted on the NPC web site, showing the scope of our efforts. Our most lasting achievement was the rewriting of the Albuquerque, NM noise code to strengthen restrictions on excessive noise and to put in place sound level limits that would help to prevent noise induced hearing loss - particularly among the young..
Research for the CQE campaign led me to the Albuquerque chapter of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH - now known as the Hearing Loss Association of America) and thus began an almost 25 year affiliation at the local, state and national level with America's premier organization devoted to the needs and concerns of hard of hearing consumers. I held, sometimes separately and sometimes concurrently, a variety of positions in the local chapter from publicity director to webmaster, newsletter editor, membership chair and even president. Adding to my knowledge about hearing loss and those who endure it was attendance at most HLAA national conventions over the years while, at the state level, I served for 10 years as the NM HLAA Chapter Coordinator, organizing chapters in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. At the national level, for nearly a decade, I have served as an advisor to HLAA through service on the Get in the Hearing Loop Steering Committee. At HLAA national conventions I have presented workshops on publicity, on organizing and running initiatives focused on the passage of local and state legislation regarding hearing loss issues, and on creating an effective local hearing loop advocacy campaign.
Over the years my efforts on behalf of those with hearing loss have included organizing two all day conferences for service providers on hearing loss related issues and service on the state's Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing Practices Board. Also involved has been participation in several mostly successful efforts to draft and get passed legislation and regulations beneficial to those with hearing loss at the state level that include a mandate for health insurance to cover hearing aids for children, the institution of a 45 day mandatory trial period for hearing aid buyers,a 30 day refund policy when hearing aids are returned and others. To get legislation passed mandating the counseling of clients on telecoil technology prior to the fitting and then purchase of hearing aids, I organized the Committee for Communication Access in New Mexico (CCAnm). We were successful in that effort and also succeeded in getting a "captions always on" ordinance written and enacted in Albquerque.
Among the outreach efforts of the local HLAA chapter was the Loop New Mexico initiative that I chaired after its founder stepped down to take up leadership of the state's National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI). The Loop NM campaign was the first of its kind by an HLAA chapter and was awarded the very first HLAA Get in the Hearing Loop award in 2011. The campaign is now being emulated in various ways by nearly 4 dozen similar nonprofit campaigns around the country and a greater number of for profit campaigns run by hearing loop installation firms and hearing care providers- all promoting the user friendly and preferred assistive listening technology provided by audio frequency induction loop systems (AFILS or, simply, Hearing Loops). No longer affiliated with Albuquerque HLAA, Loop New Mexico operates as a nonprofit information clearinghouse on hearing loop technology
My current efforts as a freelance writer draw on my many years of experience as both a supervisor for and a creator of press kits and promotional material for many world famous performing artists and attractions and my public relations efforts on behalf of CQE, HLAAbq, Loop NM and CCAnm. This work is all performed pro bono and focused primarily on the issues and technology of concern to those with hearing loss.
I no longer have any position in the local HLAA chapter. A founding member of the HLAA Get in the Hearing Loop committee, I stepped down from those duties in 2020. My advocacy efforts are again focused primarily on the hard of hearing in New Mexico and my freelance writing. The Albuquerque HLAA chapter (HLAAbq) has a newsletter that I began editing in 1998 and continued to write up until 2015. At this time I contribute an occasional Loop New Mexico column to its content. I also established and edited the newsletter of the Citizens for a Quite Environment during the years it was in operation.
Readers can learn more about hearing loop technology and Loop New Mexico at www.LoopNM.com and about the Committee for Communication Access at www.CCAnm.com. Efforts are currently in under way to place articles on hearing loop technology in the inflight magazines of major airlines and in magazines intended to travelers and vacationers.