Self-Help for Hard of Hearing (SHHH) and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital formed a chapter in 1986 under the leadership of Kiki Smith, with guidance from Joe Montano, MEETH audiologist.

• Meetings were held at the Hospital using a portable loop (innovative technology set up for each meeting).



President: Robin Sacharoff

• A permanent loop was installed in the MEETH meeting room.

• Chapter meetings focused on coping mechanisms and assistive technology; presented Sam Trychin workshop and Young Adult Conference.


President: Lois O’Neill

• Meeting location moved to League for the Hard of Hearing (now the Center for Hearing and Communication).

• Achieved non-profit status for the chapter.

• National awards to Mary Fredericks (Best Newsletter), Joe Gordon (Keystone Award), and Lise Hamlin (Spirit of SHHH Award).


President: Ed McGibbon

• Participated in SHHH-NYSA conferences in Niagara Falls and White Plains.

• Lois O’Neill received the 2004 Spirit of SHHH award.

2015 HLAA-NYC Scholarship recipients

2015 HLAA-NYC Scholarship recipients


Chair: Ellen Semel

  • Celebrated Chapter’s 20th anniversary.
  • Participated in the inaugural Downstate NY Walk4Hearing in Westchester. In 2008, organized first New York City Walk4Hearing.
  • Chapter initiated annual scholarship awards program for high school seniors with hearing loss.
  • Chapter meetings moved to Muhlenberg Library; permanent hearing loop installed with Walk4Hearing proceeds.
  • Chapter outreach included presentations at NYC Public Library.
  • Participated in four-state regional conference in Harrisburg, PA.
  • Name of National organization changed from SHHH to HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America). Chapter became HLAA-Manhattan Chapter.
NYC Walk4Hearing in action!

NYC Walk4Hearing in action!


Chair: Anne Pope

  • Established looping advocacy group.
  • Prepared looped venues guide for metropolitan area.
  • 2011 NYC Walk4Hearing drew over 1,200 walkers. First in U.S. to provide communication access by sending CART to walkers’ smartphones.
  • Chapter received first National award for best use of Walk proceeds, funding video about HLAA.
  • Rolled out new website and launched Facebook page.
  • Successfully advocated for captioned outdoor movies.
  • National awards to Anne Pope (Rocky Stone Humanitarian Award), Joe Gordon (first Advocacy Hall of Fame Award), Toni Iacolucci (Spirit of HLAA Award), Jane Seifert (Chapter Newsletter Award), Ellen Semel (Get in the Hearing Loop Award).
  • Held Sam Trychin workshop on “Living Well with Hearing Loss”; Better Hearing Forum held at Mid-Manhattan Library with CHC (Center for Hearing and Communication).
  • Celebrated Chapter’s 25th anniversary.
  • Initiated HLAA presence at summer street fairs and health fairs. 
CUNY Graduate Center

CUNY Graduate Center

January 2014 - June 2015

President: Holly Cohen

  • Board voted name change to New York City Chapter.
  • News and Views (bi-monthly newsletter) and e-blasts go digital.
  • Celebrated HLAA’s 35th anniversary by honoring Rocky Stone’s vision.
  • Increased branding through new Chapter email address, new brochure, and business cards.
  • Hearing Accommodation Task Force and Looping Committee prepared a Guide to Hearing Access in NYC and a list of NYC Looped Venues.
  • Moved location of many Chapter meetings to CUNY Graduate Center, for larger and centrally located space.
  • Initiated private gallery tour at Museum of Modern Art using CART and ALDs; sponsored a meeting at National Opera Center.
  • Advocacy success: National September 11 Memorial Museum provides access for people with hearing loss.
  • National awards to Mary Fredericks (Spirit of HLAA Award) and Ellen Semel (Marcia Dugan Advocacy Award).
  • Author and hearing loss advocate Katherine Bouton elected President. 

August 2015 - Present

President: Katherine Bouton

  • NYC Advocacy Successes include the passage of two bills in the City Council, which broaden access to people with hearing loss as well as other disabilities.
  • Invited two new Professional Advisors to NYC Chapter: Barbara Weinstein, Ph.D and David Landsberger, Ph.D.
  • Advocacy Committee formed to coordinate advocacy efforts citywide.
  • Instituted Pilot Program to provide ASL interpretation at all chapter meetings.
  • National Awards to Holly Cohen and Gail Weiss (Chapter Newsletter)
  • The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has nominated HLAA-NYC to receive an advocacy award at the NY Yankees' Annual Disability Awareness Night on September 6th, 2016.