Commission and Community News

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October 23, 2015

In the News

The Commission announces a new documentary on age-related hearing loss and provides a vlog explaining the target audience. Please click on the image below to watch.

David Rosenthal vlog re Hearing Loss Matters

Special note: David Rosenthal also served on the Age-Related Hearing Loss Task Force, which ultimately led to the creation of the documentary. 

Below is our official press release regarding Hearing Loss Matters, a documentary on the topic of age-related hearing loss.

Press Release


October 22, 2015

Contact: Beth Fraser

Premiere of Documentary on Age-Related Hearing Loss:  Hearing Loss Matters

New research and human stories make TPT documentary a must-see

Saint Paul, Minnesota -- This new documentary, Hearing Loss Matters, co-produced by Twin Cities PBS (TPT) and the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans, includes interviews with national experts and everyday Minnesotans learning to cope with the effects of age-related hearing loss.  New research and human stories make the documentary a must-see. It will premiere on Sunday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. on TPT’s MN Channel (2.2) and will simultaneously be aired statewide on Minnesota’s PBS stations. 

Age-related hearing loss is more than a personal inconvenience; it's a public health issue with wide-ranging social impacts. Recent research links age-related hearing loss to significantly greater likelihood of developing dementia, increase in hospitalizations, falls, isolation and severe episodes of depression.  However, a growing pool of technologies and communication strategies can help those experiencing age-related hearing loss and their families, friends and co-workers to overcome the challenges it poses.  Through the documentary, you will meet and witness the difference that addressing age-related hearing loss can make in the lives of Minnesotans from all walks of life.  It also points to public policy issues that need and deserve our lawmakers’ attention.

National experts illustrate the importance of addressing age-related hearing loss.  Katherine Bouton, author and former editor at the New York Times explains, “We’re finally getting past the stigma that hearing loss is a condition of aging … that you just had to shrug your shoulders and not do anything about…We now understand that hearing loss is not a cosmetic condition.  Treating it isn’t like coloring your hair or getting a facelift.  It’s a medical condition – treating it is actually good for your physical and mental health.”  Dr. Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins University adds, “We’re just now beginning to understand…that [hearing loss in older adults is] incredibly impactful for things like cognitive decline, our risk of dementia, falls, even preventing hospitalizations.”

The documentary grew out of the work of a task force the Commission convened to study age-related hearing loss and healthy aging.  The task force was chaired by former-Representative Tom Huntley and Commission-member John Wodele, both of whom personally experience hearing loss.  It was made up of health care professionals, consumer organizations, state agencies, the insurance industry and policy makers.  The task force concluded their work this summer and made recommendations for addressing this growing issue that can be found on the Commission’s website.

For more information about age-related hearing loss, the latest research, options for addressing it, where to get help and needed public policy, go to

Please note that this documentary is focused on the medical and social consequences referenced above pertain to those who experience hearing loss later in life and are used to communicating by listening and using spoken language – not to those who are culturally Deaf and primarily communicate using American Sign Language. 

About the Commission

The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans is a Governor-appointed Commission that advocates for equal opportunity for Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. As part of its mission, the Commission is committed to educating policy makers and the public about the impact of age-related hearing loss and why it should be tackled as a public health issue.

For more information about the Commission, visit our website at or join us on Facebook and Twitter.

About TPT

The mission of TPT is to “enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.”

As one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, Twin Cities PBS (TPT) uses television, interactive media and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. Over its nearly 60-year history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmys.
Based in St. Paul, MN, TPT is the most highly viewed public TV station in the nation, reaching over 1.7 million people each month through multiple broadcast and online channels. The organization's particular areas of focus include: the educational readiness of children; serving the needs and unleashing the potential of America's aging population; engaging a new generation in the power of public media; and being the preferred media partner for organizations that align with our mission to enrich lives and strengthen community.

For more information about TPT, visit our website at or join us on Facebook and Twitter


Congratulations to Albert Walla! Albert was part of a swim team that was inducted in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) Sports Hall of Fame on October 18, 2015. From 1970-1971, Albert swam the 500/1000 yards freestyle. That team had an undefeated record (16-0). Albert is already included in Gallaudet University's Hall of Fame for his swimming career. 

Congratulations to Wendy Harbour! The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to set up the first ever federally-funded national center for all college students with disabilities. Wendy will be its new director. 

Congratulations to David Evans and Jay Fehrman! The Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID) voted David Evans as the Member of the Year. They also presented Jay Fehrman with the Lion Roars Humanitarian Award. David is a nationally recognized sign language interpreter and presenter. Jay is the Program Manager for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs at Intermediate School District 916.  

If you know of other amazing accomplishments by community members, please contact Anne Sittner Anderson so that we can include it in our next newsletter. Thank you!

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