Guest Bios

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Guest Bios

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.

Geoff Plant

Geoff Plant, president of the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation (HRF).

Glenn Schweitzer

Glenn Schweitzer is an entrepreneur, blogger, and the author of Rewiring Tinnitus and Mind over Meniere’s. He is passionate about helping others who suffer from tinnitus and vestibular disorders, and volunteers as an Ambassador Board Member for the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA). Through his blogs, he continues raise awareness for tinnitus, Meniere’s disease, and other vestibular disorders, spreading his message of hope to those in need.

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 18th consecutive HLAA Convention in 2016.

John Kinstler

John Kinstler was born profoundly deaf in both ears with 80/90dB hearing loss in both of ears and he has bilateral cochlear implants. John was raised orally using hearing aids and learned American Sign Language at the age of 18. After college, John worked as a professional deaf actor/director with three different deaf theatre companies including Sunshine Too, National Theatre of the Deaf and Cleveland Signstage Theatre. He enjoys doing stand-up comedy whenever he can.

John has worked in the telecommunication industry for more than 20 years and is currently the CapTel Outreach Marketing Manager for Ultratec, Inc.

John has been a long-time advocate for people with hearing loss. He is the president of the HLAA-Madison Chapter. He is passionate in educating people with hearing loss about products and services that are available for them.

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)

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