Guest Bios

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Guest Bios

Dusty Jessen, Au.D.

Dusty Jessen has been an audiologist in a busy ENT practice for more than 12 years. In 2013 she wrote and published a handbook (Frustrated by Hearing Loss? 5 Keys to Communication Success) to help people cope with the challenges related to hearing loss. This book is being used by hearing care professionals around the country.  Dr. Jessen is passionate about providing a fun and simple way for people to learn and practice strategies that are essential for communication success.

Ellen Beer

Ellen Beer recently joined Cochlear Americas as a Consumer Marketing Manager, where she contributes her own recipient insights and marketing experience. She is an active member of the Cochlear Community, a network of recipients who share their hearing journeys together worldwide.

Esther Kelly

Author and award winning speaker, Esther Kelly, has developed and implemented numerous programs designed to meet the unique needs of her clients, presenting her acclaimed “Hearing Loss in Action – Beyond Methodology” to countless groups, organizations and community colleges. Ms. Kelly has given many workshops at Hearing Loss Association of America National Conventions.  Among her books, videos and DVDs are, “A Sign Signals Manual”,  and her award winning video, “You Should Hear What You Are Missing”. Her most recent 6-DVD series, “Solutions for People with Hearing Loss in Career and Education Environments,” is a contemporary classic utilized by Texas Vocational Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and available at all Texas Public Libraries. 

Esther Kelly runs a Hearing Loss Program and Technology Center at Deaf Action Center in Dallas Texas and serves as a Hearing Loss Resource Specialist for the Texas Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.  Esther is a tireless advocate for the Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened.   Having lived with hearing loss from the time she was a child, and the recipient of a successful cochlear implant, Esther has life experience that has given her insight in the needs of those with hearing loss.


Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. She is a director on the national board of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and runs The Hearing Foundation of Canada’s award-winning Sound Sense hearing awareness program for elementary students across Canada. As a passionate advocate for people with hearing loss, her work includes speechreading instruction, hearing awareness workshops for youth and adults, and sensitivity training for corporations and community groups. 

Gael is a sought-after speaker for her humorous and insightful performances about hearing loss, including her signature shows Unheard Voices and EarRage! She has received several awards for her work, including the Consumer Advocacy Award from the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Jane R. Madell, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT

Jane R. Madell, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT is a renowned audiologist, educator, mentor and advocate. Her pioneering work in audiology, pediatric audiology, licensure and professional development has spanned four decades and lifted the field of audiology to the heights it is today. Her clinical practice and research include evaluation and management of hearing in infants and young children, management of hearing loss in children with severe and profound hearing loss, selection and management of amplification including hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems, assessment of auditory function, and evaluation and management of auditory processing disorders.

Joan Haber

Joan Haber, former HLAA Board of Trustee; secretary of HLAA Sarasota Chapter; 2010 Rocky Stone Humanitarian Award recipient; attending her 17th consecutive HLAA Convention in 2015.

Judy Sexton

Judy Sexton is the Director of Clarke Pennsylvania Auditory Oral Center. Judy holds a Masters Degree in Education of the Hearing Impaired from Bloomsburg University. She also held a license as a hearing aid specialist in the state of Pennsylvania awarded 1987. She has spent her entire career of 31 years working in the field of auditory oral education. Her work experiences include ten years in the public school system intermediate units as an itinerant hearing therapist and resource room teacher in preschool, elementary, middle and high schools. In addition, Judy taught at Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf from 1983 until 1997 in the capacity of classroom teacher in preschool, elementary and middle schools. Judy’s last five years at “Ryan School” were as principal.

Some of Judy’s other accomplishments include:

  • Newly appointed to the Infant Newborn Screening Committee in the state of Pennsylvania
  • Former President/Quota Club-women’s professional organization dedicated to hearing and speech needs of children and adults
  • Former President of the St. Bernadette Home and School Association
  • Presenter at a variety of conferences and conventions related to hearing loss
  • Committee chair at the A.G. Bell conference 1997
  • Officer of the PA Chapter of the A.G. Bell Association
  • Recipient of the Curriculum Quill Award for outstanding contribution to curriculum and instruction.

Judy’s interests include reading, quilting, walking, traveling with her family, gardening and refinishing furniture. She lives in Havertown with her husband, Tim, and three children Kevin, Patrick, and Julianne.

Julie Olson

Julie Olson, HLAA Board of Trustees Past President, Fox Valley, Wisconsin Chapter Founder
Having been involved with HLAA for more than 25 years, Ms. Olson brings a strong passion for people with hearing loss and the organization that she feels saved her life when she lost her hearing. She has also served as the newsletter editor for the HLAA Wisconsin State Association and the Fox Valley Chapter.

Juliëtte Sterkens, Au.D.

Juliëtte Sterkens took a leave from her audiology practice to take on the position of Hearing Loop Advocate for HLAA, traveling across the country to meet with HLAA Chapters and audiologists about the importance of telecoils and how to get a hearing loop project started in their community.

Karen Peltz Strauss

Karen Peltz Strauss is Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)