Call for Speakers and Sessions Now Open for HEAR2009

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Southern California's largest regional conference for people with hearing loss seeks speakers for individual and panel presentations on President's Day Weekend, February 14-15, 2009, at the Doubletree Hotel Anaheim/Orange County. Deadline for submissions is October 10, 2008.

The Hearing Loss Association of California (HLA-CA) has issued a call for speakers and sessions for HEAR2009, a breakthrough event for people with hearing loss, expected to attract attendees from across the western United States. Four conference tracks will be presented: Hearing, Entertainment, Advocacy and Research.

Unlike most such events that appeal solely to an individual organization's own membership, HEAR2009 is designed to appeal to the entire hearing loss community, including the culturally Deaf, hearing health care professionals, and those in Hollywood who make entertainment accessible for the large -- and growing -- market of consumers with hearing loss.

More than two dozen workshop sessions will be selected based on content quality, originality, creativity, audience involvement and anticipated interest. Visual materials and other audio-visual aids are strongly encouraged.

Applications are available on the conference website, http://www.HEAR2009.com and are due October 10, 2008. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by November 6, 2008.

"We want to enlighten our attendees...and delight, astound, entertain and excite them," said conference co-chair Michael Kaplan, who got involved in the hearing loss community when his wife began to lose her hearing while both of them worked for NBC Television. "We want to know what's new, what's changing and what breakthroughs will affect the lives of all those with hearing loss. We're looking for fresh takes, new solutions and new technologies that affect how we live, work and entertain ourselves. From employment issues and hearing loop systems to hearing loss prevention, captioning and the latest technology in high-tech hearing toys, HEAR2009 seeks to present the full spectrum of issues that affect those with hearing loss."

"Above all, we're looking for powerful, informative, entertaining and eye-opening workshops, panels and presentations that will make a difference in people's lives," Kaplan added.

According to leading health authorities, there are 30 million to 50 million Americans with some level of hearing loss, making it the nation's most common disability, as well as the least visible.

In addition to workshops and two exhibit halls featuring the latest assistive technology, HEAR2009 will take advantage of its proximity to the world capital of entertainment to present the inaugural Rocky Stone Hearing Loss Media Awards -- "The Rockys" -- honoring positive portrayals of hearing loss and champions of accessibility in film and television. The conference will also launch HEARFest, the first-ever accessible film festival of captioned Hollywood movies and independent films by hard of hearing and deaf filmmakers. Newly-named keynote speaker Richard Pimentel -- the hearing impaired Vietnam veteran who inspired the award-winning feature film "Music Within" -- continues the entertainment focus of HEAR2009.

Located next door to "The Block," an outdoor entertainment complex with more than 100 shops and restaurants, and just minutes from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and the Crystal Cathedral, the Doubletree Hotel Anaheim/Orange County is just a short drive from Southern California's famous beaches, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Six Flags Magic Mountain and water park Hurricane Harbor, and Universal Studios, making it an ideal vacation destination for the entire family.

Early-bird registration and special discounted room rates are available through November 30, 2008. For more information about HEAR2009, and to sign up for monthly email updates featuring news on speakers, HEARFest films, and "Rockys" nominees, please visit http://www.HEAR2009.com.

About the Hearing Loss Association of California (HLA-CA)
The Hearing Loss Association of California, an affiliate of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to opening the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, advocacy and support. For more information, please visit http://www.hearinglossca.org.

About the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
The Hearing Loss Association of America is the nation's foremost consumer organization representing people with hearing loss. HLAA impacts accessibility, public policy, research, public awareness, and service delivery related to hearing loss on a national and global level through its national support network of local chapters, providing cutting edge information to consumers, policy makers, business professionals and family members through its website, award-winning magazine Hearing Loss, online newsletter ENews, message boards, and regional and national conventions. For more information, please visit http://www.hearingloss.org.

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