Dee Boleman’s Story

HLAA 2015 National Convention —  My “First-Timer” HLAA National Convention Adventure in St. Louis.


I was late to the party.  Yes. Late. How could this be?  As a student in elementary school, I was always early or on time.  As an adult, my friends joke as they “know” that Dee will be the first one knocking on the door of any gathering.  Somehow with my undiagnosed hearing loss, my intuition told me to sit as close to the speaker as possible.  Hence, Dee always arrives a few minutes early to claim her stake on that front row.


I was born with some degree of hearing loss, yet my diagnosis was just determined in late 2013. 

Therefore, in 2014 during the first months of my hearing aids adventure, I felt embarrassed and bewildered at my very late arrival to the Hearing Loss Community.


HLAA has been in full swing since 1979.  Oh, the irony… I recall in college in 1979 that my right ear was better for telephone calls in the loud dorm.  My left ear seem to “sit out” on that.  No matter.  I will use my right ear for telephone calls.  (Oh, so clueless)


Fast forward to the spring of 2014.  Joining HLAA and the HLAA-Orlando Chapter, I heard about the National Convention.  Everyone raved about it.  Not wanting to miss another opportunity, I set my sights on learning everything I could about my hearing loss, assistive listening solutions and all things Telecoil and Loops.


My goal for the last 14 months was to become so educated on the topic of hearing loss that I could join the party in St Louis and bring something to the table.  I wanted to participate!  And the best surprise for me was I was chosen to be a recipient for one of the HLAA national scholarships for “first-time attendees!”


Oh…. And What a Party it Was!  HLAA 2015 was amazing.  Fantastic workshops. Brilliant people. Friendly HoHs (Hard of Hearing folks), Wonderful Insights, Informative Seminars, Fun Events and more!


And in the end, I told family and friends that I felt the year of homework, research and reaching out to the local and national experts of the hearing loss community paid off. 


I showed up in St Louis fully-prepared to engage in every topic and every conversation.  It Was Amazing!


Folks who I admire sought me out to meet me.  Folks who I admire welcomed me with a hug.  Folks who I admire were very happy to include me in their brainstorming sessions. And my friends from Florida made sure I was included in all of their gatherings as well.  


Wow! Just. Wow! 


The HLAA 2015 National Convention was an incredible event that connected old and new friends from all over North America.  The magic and energy defies words.  But I will leave you with this:


“Start planning your travel to the next HLAA National Convention. I promise you will never be the same.”


Thanks for listening.


Dee Bolemon

HLAA Orlando Chapter Member

Twitter:  @LoopAdvocate

 Click here for additional stories

You Can Make Hearing Loss Visible!

Break The Silence

In 1986, Ronald Reagan issued an official proclamation naming May Better Hearing and Speech Month. His own decision to start wearing a hearing aid in public made national headlines in 1983.  His hearing loss was caused by a pistol firing close-range during film production in his days as an actor.  

As he shared: “Sounds, whether we produce them or receive them, are an integral part of our lives,” Reagan said. “Sounds – both the ones we hear and the ones we make – help us to understand others and to be understood.” 

If you or someone you know has a hearing loss, contact the Hearing Loss of America’s Florida State Association for additional information!  (

Hearing loss knows no economic or age boundaries. It could be anyone dealing with a hearing loss … it could be YOU.  Break the silence, seek help and work with a professional audiologist to help you or a loved one HEAR TODAY.

The Hearing Loss Association of America, Florida State Association (HLAA-FL)

The Hearing Loss Association of America, Florida State Association (HLAA-FL) serves the needs of all people with hearing loss throughout the State of Florida, by providing information and educational support, public awareness and both legislative and public policy advocacy of issues related to assuring equal access, opportunity and protection for the quality of life of individuals with hearing loss.