Who We Are

HEAR! HERE! is your local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America [HLAA] serving Woodland, Davis and Yolo County. We offer informational programs throughout the year that are open to all. See this blog for times and dates of upcoming events.


Our e-mail address is: hearherewoodland@gmail.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

September 2012 Meeting: "Hearing Impaired at the Hospital"

Missing information when talking to a doctor or nurse can not only be frustrating but also potentially life threatening. Medicine dosages, conflicts with other drugs and schedules for taking the medicine all need to be heard and understood clearly. What do you do when you go to a medical appointment? What can you do to make sure you have heard and understood instructions properly? How do you ensure that the doctor has heard and understood YOU!
Come to our September meeting and hear what advice Colette Noble from NorCal Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has to offer on "Hearing Impaired at the Hospital".
Our meeting will be on SEPTEMBER 20th, at 10.00 am at the Davis Senior Center located at 646 A Street, Davis. All are welcome.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Winters and Davis Preschoolers tested

This week additional preschoolers, in both the Davis and the Winters area, were screened for possible hearing loss. The efforts of Hear! Here! to reach more children this year has resulted in an overall increase in children being tested. Mel Russell, one of the coordinators says that so far around 400 preschoolers have been screened with three more schools to be tested. She says that the screening have gone very well so far with no major hitches.

Scheduling this year was harder because of the increase in the number of schools and because many of the schools requested the same day and/or time frame for the screenings; but with the help and flexibility of the Center for Hearing Health technicians and the willingness on the part of schools to accommodate some changes it has all worked out.

In fact, in someways this has been a very "bucolic" year.

From brand new father bunny rabbits looking to check out their just born offspring!

To flowers and vegetables decorating the testing site!

It is has not been all work!

Next Thursday will see end of the screenings for this year.

The success of the screenings owe a great deal to the community funding we received and the encouragement this gave to the small group of volunteers that run the program.
First 5 Yolo, The Woodland Sunrise Rotary Foundation and the Davis Soroptimists; all have made the screenings possible.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knights Landing Preschoolers tested for first time

Last Thursday, May 3rd, the Center for Hearing Health's [CHH] mobile van arrived in the town of Knights Landing for the very first time. Although Hear! Here! did not receive any designated funding for Knights Landing the co-coordinators of the Preschool Screening program, Mel Russell and Donna Seaver, both agreed that this was the year to start including this rural town in the testing. They felt it was important that the health needs of the more isolated communities of the county should be met whenever possible. The Advisory Board of Hear! Here! agreed with them and as a result 21 Knights Landing preschoolers aged 4 and 5, had their hearing screened for signs of any hearing impairment.

Meanwhile, all the scheduled screenings for Woodland preschools finished on Friday, May 4th. The number of schools tested increased to 5 preschools this year, located throughout the city. Each preschool that joins in Hear! Here!'s screening project have to designate a teacher or teacher's aide to be responsible for gathering the children to be tested and making sure that they make it into the van and then back to their classroom. The testing takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes per group, depending on the number and age of the children in the van. Here two of the designated teachers/aides from the Woodland College Child Development Center wait outside the van. Hear! Here!'s volunteers help in ensuring the safety of the children as they enter and leave the van...as well as providing the "GOOOOD JOBS" and "HIGH FIVES" necessary to make the day FUN!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

62 Winters children screened for Hearing Loss Today

The mobile van of the Center for Hearing Loss visited the town of Winters today. Two schools were included in the screenings and a total of 62 children were tested. For the first time I sat in the van during some of the testing and it was very interesting to see how Norma and Lucia, the two technicians, worked with the preschoolers.
The children were screened in groups of 5. As they took their places in the van they gave their name to Norma. Lucia then showed each child where to sit and explained that they were going to be putting on the ear phones and having a hearing test. She then gave them the directions "When you hear a sound you need to put your hand up right away. Then put it down when the sound goes away." Before doing the actual screening she had the children try it out first without headphones and then a couple of times with the headphones on. Some of the children treated this part as a race trying desperately to be the first one to have their hands up! This in part explained why, when the children do the actual screenings, they have to have their eyes closed. The other reason is to prevent a child from just copying the person next to them, which is very natural behaviour in 4 and 5 year olds. It was quite funny to see 5 children sitting there with their eyes closed...some had them squeezed oh oh so very tight and others barely had their eyelids touching down! Lucia was able to make sure though that eyes were shut when needed.
With Norma helping they then took the children through the sounds, testing each ear for 3 different frequencies. If a child was having problems following the directions Norma would help by gently prompting them with the instructions again with such patience. If a child seemed to be having problems hearing then Lucia repeated the sounds and also added another frequency to the mix, making sure they had every opportunity to respond.
As it happened one of the schools also had a number of 3 year olds in the class whom we also tested. Because they are younger and cannot focus for as long as 4 and 5 year olds, Norma had only 3 children come into the van at a time. Lucia adapted the test by screening each child one at a time as trying to listen and put their hands up at the same time is just a little too complex for 3 year olds.
The atmosphere was relaxed and some of the children were shouting "That was fun!" as they left the van...showing off their stickers as they went!
Thanks to First 5 Yolo for provide the funding we used to test these preschools in Winters.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hearing Screenings for Preschoolers in Woodland Today

Hear! Here!'s hearing screenings for preschoolers continued today as the Center for Hearing Health's mobile van visited 3 schools in Esparto and 2 in Woodland. The Woodland Sunrise Rotary Foundation grant will cover the costs of testing in Woodland, while the Esparto schools will be funded by the grant Hear! Here! received from First 5 Yolo.

The technicians that perform the screenings, Norma [to the left] and Lucia [below] have been performing these tests for a number of years and they are considered by CHH to be the experts in screening children.

Thanks to the relaxed atmosphere that Norma and Lucia provide most of the children really enjoy being tested and best of all they all get stickers for a job well done!

Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 Preschool Hearing Screening Starts in Davis

Thanks in part to a $1,000.00 donation from the Davis International Soroptimists Hear! Here!'s hearing screenings of 4 and 5 year olds began in Davis today. The Center for Hearing Health mobile van stopped at 3 different Davis preschools this morning testing the children for evidence of any hearing impairment. These schools represent part of the expansion of the Preschool Testing Program in 2012.

A grant of $4650.00 from First 5 Yolo along with a donation of $2,500.00 from the Woodland Sunrise Rotary Foundation also allowed Hear! Here to increase the number of schools scheduled for testing in Woodland, as well as to include Knights Landing preschool for the first time. In addition all the established preschools in Winters and Esparto are scheduled for testing. The hearing screenings will take place between now and May 17th.

Good hearing is critical in the process of children learning to speak and to read. The hearing screenings that the Center of Hearing Health provide allow the teachers and parents of children identified with a hearing loss to take steps to ensure that the children receive the support they need to be successful in school and in the world.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The meeting of Hearing Loss Association of America (Hear! Here!), at 10 a.m. on March 26 at Woodland Community and Senior Center, will be of interest to a wide range of people concerned with hearing loss in children. Hear! Here! is dedicated to diagnosing if a child in preschool has a possible hearing loss in order to give them a better chance of learning when entering elementary school.  Parents and teachers of preschool children can easily overlook a hearing loss because the disability is not readily evident and sometimes is only found with a hearing test.
Children need to be able to hear, because hearing affects language and speech development, social and emotional well-being, and academic achievement. Parents and teachers are often unaware of a child’s loss of hearing until the child receives a hearing test in public elementary school. Private elementary schools seldom provide hearing tests.

Hear! Here! has an annual program to provide free hearing tests to preschool children in Yolo County, ages 4 and 5, to alert parents to a possible hearing loss. The Hear! Here! meeting will explain details of the local group’s program and describe, with illustrations, the process of arranging for tests at preschools, the licensed testing company, the source of funding, and the opportunity for volunteers to participate in screening children for hearing loss before they enter elementary school.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Technology and Hearing Loss

On Monday January 23rd. at the Woodland Hear! Here! meeting, Lindsay Visocchi of Hamilton Relay Service demonstrated the Captioned Telephone (Hamilton CapTel) which allows individuals who have difficulty hearing on the phone to speak directly to the other party as usual, then listen and read the other party's response as captions appear on a built-in display screen. A specially trained operator generates the captions so there is a very slight delay between the spoken conversation and what is displayed.  The service is free to those that qualify through the California Telephone Access Program [see May 11th, 2011 blog for more on CTAP]. The service is only available to California residents.

Hamilton CapTel Telephone

This technology:
  • Eliminates the struggle of using the phone due to difficulty hearing
  • Allows for natural conversations
  • Provides a truly interactive calling experience
  • Gives an increased sense of independence
  • Makes the phone your friend again

"Clear, accurate, real time conversations link you to the world, to business, to family, to friends" said Lindsay. "You can talk naturally, there is no need to use short sentences...the only thing you need to be aware of is not to use slang or other words not found in a common dictionary" The phone has all the standard features one has come to expect on a hard of hearing phone such as adjustable amplifications, speed dial, phone book and caller ID capability.

Lindsay also showed us how the the Hamilton Web CapTel works.

This service which requires access to the Internet:
  • Allows the user to see every word the caller says right on their computer screen.
  • Requires no special equipment other than a computer
  • Does not require you to download any special software
  • Is available at no charge
  • You can use it where ever you can get Internet service along with phone service by simply dialing a 1-800 number to receive incoming calls
Lindsay explained that a simple, one-time registration is the only requirement to use the service. This web-based captioning seemed very interesting to me for people who use the Internet a lot...I thought it might be easier to use than the captioning phone as the screen you would be looking at would be larger. I liked this service a lot.

Hamilton Web CapTel account holders can also receive captioning on select mobile phone. A benefit of the mobile captioning, Hamilton Mobile CapTel, is:
  • It can be used anywhere, in the USA, that your phone works with a phone that has 3G capability or wifi that supports phone and data simultaneously
  • Requires no special equipment but a hands free head set is recommended for best results
  • Is totally mobile
  • There is no charge for the service
Lindsay demonstrated the Mobile service by phoning Hear! Here! advisory board member Mel Russell [me] on her mobile. As we spoke to each other on our smart phones captions were displayed on the screen. This looked like it could be really useful when making important telephone calls where you need to get accurate information and, or while you are on the road. As Lindsay showed us "...you can immediately connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime!"

 We want to say thanks to Lindsay for an informative and fun demonstration and for sharing with us all this rather cool technology.

For more information on any of these services go to HamiltonCapTel.com or contact Lindsay at
(916) 492-2102

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Hear! Here! is very happy to report that it has received a grant of $4650.00 from First 5 Yolo to be used for its 2012 Preschool Hearing Program.

First 5 Yolo's Mission Statement "First 5 Yolo will assist our community to raise children who are healthy and ready to learn" led Hear! Here! to believe that the hearing program might be a perfect candidate for grant funds. The hearing program arranges for children 4 & 5 years of age to take a hearing test designed to identity any hearing impediment that the child may have.
Research shows that children with hearing loss may have problems with:
  • Grades in School
  • Language Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationships with Peers
  • Relationships with Family
  • Emotional Health

In California, after birth, most children are not tested until they enter school at age 6. This program aims at catching a hearing loss early enough to give the child a chance of not falling behind before they have even started school.

   "The grant is particularly important to us, said Mel Russell one of the coordinators of the project, as the goal for this year's program is to increase the testing to 500 children which is a significant increase for the program. 2011 saw 361 children take part in the hearing screenings, with 347 completing the test of which 17 failed. We estimate that this year the cost of testing one child will be about $8.50. The monies from the grant will go directly to the agency that performs the tests for us...we still need more funds if we are to make our goal of testing 500 children; providing information to the schools and parents; and providing follow up...but the grant has us well on our way. We have been very fortunate in the past to receive help from many of the local service organizations, such as the Lions, the Kiwanis, and the Soroptimists. However, the scope of this year's project required a significant early infusion of funds and we are so pleased that First 5 recognized the value of our project and chose to support it."

Donna Seaver the other coordinator for this year's project said "Testing will be in the first week of May and site visits and scheduling of schools will begin soon. If you are interested in volunteering on this project you may leave a message at [530] 756-5536 and either Mel, or I will be in contact with you. We will be visiting schools in Davis, Esparto, Winters and Woodland. Schools interested in being included in the program may call the same number".

The program is still accepting donations, both from organizations and individuals. If you would like to donate to the program you may mail a check to:

Tom Mentkowski
Hear! Here! Treasurer
Atten: Preschool Hearing Testing Program
433 Second Street, #104
Woodland, CA 95695

Please make checks or money orders payable to Hear! Here!