Connections Hard of Hearing Personal advocacy Tribe

Hearing Loss Community Members: Humelan Hearing

Meet our hearing loss community members. Why? Because they provide valuable resources and inspire us. Spreading hearing loss awareness is going to take a lot of us working together and as individuals. Connections in the community provide more resources and ways to get the word out.

Today we introduce you to Humelan Hearing. We asked Gil Kaminski to tell us more about Humelan.

Gil Kaminski
Tell us about Humelan. How did you came up with the name?

Humelan Hearing is a public benefit corporation dedicated to building a range of solutions to cater to people with diverse hearing levels. We are a mother-daughter team, deeply familiar with the realities of hearing loss. My mother, Prof. Michal Luntz, is a bilateral cochlear implant user, a cochlear implant surgeon, and a hearing researcher. She entered these fields, not knowing she would one day need hearing aids and cochlear implants herself. I always felt there was a touch of destiny in that. 

We started from a long-time passion of ours – making medical knowledge accessible and easy to understand, as well as fostering communities. Both our knowledge hub and communities can be found at Humelan. Marne Sullivan’s ‘Hear & Out’ is one of my favorite communities. It’s rewarding to see our members open communities and support each other. We are also working on several technology-enabled tools to make life with hearing loss easier to navigate. If you have expertise in product development, UX, AI, or programming and are passionate about addressing hearing loss, we’d love to hear from you.

When we started Humelan, one of the first things we thought about was the name. We aimed for a name that would represent our commitment to a person-centered approach and be more easily heard by those with hearing loss. We sought the expertise of Prof. Tova Most, an educational audiologist specializing in spoken language perception and production. She guided us on which sounds to avoid, like “f”, “s”, and which to favor, as they’re generally easier to hear, such as “m” and “n”. In wanting to emphasize our commitment to placing the person at the center, we sought a name that evoked the idea of a ‘person’, or ‘human’. This thought process led us to the creation of ‘Humelan’.

What’s your personal connection to hearing loss?

My personal journey with hearing loss began when I was a child. As I was growing up, my mother was growing deaf. She always had hearing aids lying around in her room, but they weren’t really helpful. It wasn’t until I was about 12 that she began to use them more frequently. Her hearing continued to deteriorate, she moved to bigger hearing aids, started to use the FM receiver, and around twenty years ago, she received her first cochlear implant. For many years, I didn’t know what prompted her to start using the hearing aids and what enabled her to benefit from them. Recently, when we started to work on Humelan together, I met the audiologist who had the right conversations and provided the right support to my mother. I feel very grateful to her. For me, hearing aids and cochlear implants have always been a part of life. 

Gil’s mother, Michal Luntz, MD
What is Humelan Hearing’s goal?

Our purpose is to provide people with the information and tools they need to navigate life with hearing loss while also working to make our environment more accessible and inclusive. I think about everything we do in three primary pillars: providing readable and reliable information, fostering supportive communities, and collaborating to create meaningful impact. 

What kind of future do you envision for people with hearing loss and how can people help? 

Understanding that hearing loss affects us all, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. So, when I envision a future, it’s a future we all need. I’ll summarize my thoughts into four key areas: First, I see a future with better communication accessibility, accommodating different hearing levels and communication preferences. Second, the financial burden of hearing loss is substantial and extends beyond just hearing technology. I would like to see more comprehensive coverage and support in this area. Third, I am passionate about promoting greater awareness of hearing loss and hearing health. This encompasses routine hearing screenings for adults, as well as broadening educational efforts on preventing hearing loss. Additionally, I believe in the importance of everyone understanding how they can assist those with hearing loss.

Action is needed.

Actions as simple as modifying our communication methods, practicing patience and kindness, and ensuring the accessibility of public spaces can make a significant difference. Last, I strongly believe in the power of person-centered care across healthcare, especially in hearing health, which impacts every aspect of a person’s life. It’s a person’s communication lifeline. Our approach at Humelan is grounded in person-centered care (PCC) – putting the person with hearing loss at the center and in the driver’s seat, respecting individual preferences and values, prioritizing shared decision-making, and inviting friends and family into the process. I hope to see a continued shift across hearing health to a person-centered approach. 

Stay in touch with Humelan.

Humelan Hearing is on Facebook, and Instagram 

Connections Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Conventions Tribe

Hearing Loss Convention Fun

Hearing loss conventions are so much fun! You meet some of the best people in the world and learn things too. Both Julia and I (Chelle) have been to several conventions and we have have a good time. As we prepare for our journey north to Vancouver, Canada for the SayWhatClub annual convention, we thought we would share some past memories with you.


Chelle: I love meeting up with the HoH (Hard of Hearing) tribe at the various annual hearing loss conferences. A definition of tribe according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: A group of persons having a common character, occupation or interest. (Just so you know, the tribe includes our hearing family and friends.) Nothing feels better than being around others who get it in a world made for hearing loss with the proper accommodations.

Why I love hearing loss conventions…
  • First and foremost, I adore the people. Some of the best people I know have hearing loss. I have a lot of fun connecting with old friends and making new friends.
  • Second, I learn something every year from the people who attend, presenters and attendees. We share what we’ve learned and experienced and the strategies we use. New technology is shared and we learn about new research.
  • Third I get to see a different part of the country every time I attend. Half the fun is the travel, the site seeing and finding the character of each city we visit.

Here is a sample of some of the fun I’ve had at past hearing loss conventions.

SayWhatClub hearing loss convention; A white woman, Chelle, in a black dress with bug eyes glasses and wearing a tiara. A tall black man wearing regular glasses and striped shirt smiling. A white woman next to him in a tie dye dress with bug eye glasses and a tiara.
In Madison Wisconsin at the SayWhatClub having fun being silly with another HoH friend.
Several people standing at a light rail stop with their hands in the air at night.
The SayWhatClub convention in Salt Lake. We missed our stop not hearing announcements on the light rail.
A woman in a tutu posing with a man in a kilt.
SayWhatClub in Williamsburg, VA
A giant rocking chair made by CaptionCall. A man sitting on the left with his mouth open and a woman next him laughing.
At the Minneapolis HLAA convention with my Utahn HoH friend.
Julia and I presenting at the ALDA con in San Diego last year.
HoH People Know How to Have a Good Time Together

As you can see, I’m all about having fun at hearing loss conventions, no matter where I am. My Burning Man days are still very much a part of me so I’ll go with feather boas, tiaras and if a friend brings bug eye glasses, hell yeah! I’ve worn super tall balloon hats, fancy dresses and gone western for a theme.

The Places I’ve Been

I’ve camped in Rocky Mountain National Park with about 30 HoH people. I’ve been to Providence RI, Williamsburg VA, Madison WI, Rochester NY, Minneapolis, Savannah GA and Nashville. These are all places I’ve explored only because of hearing loss conventions. I’ve had a good time in each city with memories that will stay with me forever.

The Things I’ve Learned

Because I’ve been to hearing loss conventions, I’ve made some great connections with others in the field and learned things. No matter how long I’ve been at it, I’m still learning things. Did you know the speech banana moves around on the audiogram scale according to female, male and children’s voices? How about Nashville allows those with hearing loss to register their car as it’s likely to have a HoH driver? (It’s not on the license plate.) I have heard advocacy updates for the country via John Waldo, a disability lawyer, at ALDA cons. That and more. Hearing loss conventions are valuable in so many ways.

Have you seen our post on Tribe from July of 2021?

Add to Your Bucket List

Julia: Is travel at the top of your bucket list? Traveling to a hearing loss convention is a great way to combine your summer vacay bucket list with great people, new experiences and FUN. Each convention has a little bit of a different feel so try them all. You always have great company, great food, and you never stop learning.

Chelle and I (Julia) use convention time as a great opportunity to get out of our office dungeons and travel. We like meeting with those we’ve connected with and look for odd stops a long the way.

I love all the challenges that SayWhatClub throws my way when it comes to captioning. Comedy Clubs, Riverboat Tours, Saloons with live music and lessons in country line dancing.

Conference Inclusion

If every conference and convention offered inclusion and accommodation options without having people request or have to arrange it beforehand wouldn’t that be… Well the bees knees! It really can be very easy to incorporate loop, fm/wifi systems, CART and ASL. Companies have so many options to make their events inclusive. Why wait for an attendee or employee to ask for accommodations? Just put it in your budget and do the right thing. I have said it in many past blogs if small organizations and businesses like us can find quality captioning at a reasonable price, any one can! I have vast experience and a large pool of captioning contacts so I can help you find a great fit for your business. Chelle knows how to lay a portable loop and she has a plethora of experience with many different fm and wifi systems. Set up a one-on-one class with us today!

Plan a Hearing Loss Conference Next Year

The Hearing Loss Association of America will announce their next location sometime this week. The SayWhatClub will announce their next location the second week in July. It’s not too late to join the ALDA con in Austin, TX October 30 – November 3, 2023. Their early bird rate ends June 30th, so check it out now.