Meeting of 1/28/16: ‘Now Hear This!’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at  Wolfert’s Roost Country Club
Albany, NY
January 28, 2016

Attending (15): Terry Brewer, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Jim Butterworth, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, David Taylor, Ray Hannan, Dean Calamaras, Dick Drumm, Roberto Martinez, Carole Spencer.

Guests (2): Robert Ferguson, Betty Brewer.


Guest speaker Robert Ferguson of Advanced Audiology.
Examples of today’s tiny hearing devices.

April Dowd introduced speaker Robert Ferguson of Advanced Audiology. Robert had offices in the Troy Medical Arts Building before recently moving across the bridge to Green Island.

He explained the latest technological advances in hearing aid equipment, noting that more people are being helped and the quality of that help has vastly improved through Bluetooth technology. He showed older, larger aids and passed around some of the tiny new devices for examination.

Newer hearing aids, he said. are much smaller, some even being referred to as “invisible.” Most aids now are worn over-the-ear rather than in the ear canal. That allows air to enter the canal, and makes hearing more natural than having it plugged. The squeal of auditory feedback has virtually been eliminated through the behind-the-ear aids that contain a tiny FM antenna.

Robert explained that it no longer is necessary to hand-adjust the volume. Aids are calibrated to handle a variety of sound sources, and wearers of bilateral aids receive two sets of messages to the brain to improve quality of hearing. Bluetooth connectivity also allows such things as streaming directly from cellphones, automobile dashboard electronics, MP3 players and other devices. The smart phone or iPhone also can be adjusted for the ear the sounds in an environment. The levels will be recorded and stored so users can simply recall them when in the same or similar atmosphere rather than having to start from scratch.

Robert answered a variety of questions on technology, hearing evaluations, costs, and device maintenance and durability. He left behind pamphlets on new hearing aid technology for members to pick up.


Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 1.30.31 PMSPECIAL DINNER EVENT — President Terry Brewer announced that arrangements have been finalized for a special Thursday, February 4, dinner at Quigley’s. Mid-year awards will be presented to several club members, and he and Jim Leyhane will induct 8 to 10 new members. District Governor Milan Jackson, who had said he hoped each club in the district would add at least one new member in the 2015-16 Rotary Year, plans to attend. Terry urged all current members to make every effort to attend, and to bring friends, guests, and even prospective members. As always, anyone planning to attend needs to let dinner coordinator Debbie Brown or Terry know of their plans no later than Tuesday, February 2, so we can have an accurate headcount. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and socializing, with dinner at 6:30, followed by the ceremonies at 7.

Golfer Robots BoxedSIMULATOR GOLF — Murray Forth reported that our first indoor simulator golf tournament of the winter has eight of the 12 slots filled for this Saturday at Burden Lake Country Club. He and Terry Brewer are working on filling up the remaining slots. We have enough volunteers to handle the setup, registration, raffles, etc. for this major fundraiser.

THANKS TO … — Terry thanked club members Shannon Romanowski and A.J. Amato for hosting breakfast and dinner meetings last Thursday. Shannon, director of the Greenbush YMCA, hosted our monthly breakfast meeting, which previously had been held at CASDA. She also gave a presentation on the many community efforts the Y is making in the community. We will continue holding our third-Thursday breakfasts at the Y. A.J., a financial consultant, hosted us at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club, providing food and beverages and a professional’s look at the economy and investment possibilities.

WOUNDED WARRIORS — Terry directed our attention to recent news articles about the large (40+) percentage of financial contributions the Wounded Warriors program has been spending on its staff for first-class air travel, high-end hotels, etc., essentially anything except aid to veterans. That is why, he said, our recent $1,500 grant to the Wounded Warrior-affiliated Stride program was given directly to the local organization to avoid wasting funds. Stride will hold a dinner on Friday, March 4. Anyone wishing to attend is asked to contact Terry directly.

SRC Breakfast Chef logoROTARY HOME COOKING — Three member-hosted home dinners are on the schedule as fundraisers for the club treasury. They are February 27 at the Forth residence, March 1 at the Bailey residence, and April 16 at the Dowd residence. Details are available on the club website. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE — The club’s latest donation to the family services facility in Albany — this one for $500 — was matched by another organization during a local radio fundraising effort, resulting in a $1,000 contribution that got prominent on-air play for our club. Good funding for Ronald McDonald House, and good public relations for Rotary.

WEBSITE — Terry again praised the club website for its content and timeliness, and asked webmaster Bill Dowd what sort of traffic we get. Bill said we receive about 800 hits a month between the website and the club Facebook page. Bill encouraged members with Facebook accounts to make use of the “share” application on Facebook to spread word about our club and about Rotary in general.

SRC Sponsors TagOUR SPONSORS — Members were reminded to check our website for a list of our sponsors when they are planning to purchase local goods or services. They also were reminded to mention Rotary when using our sponsors.

FRIENDS OF JACLYN — John Sawchuk informed the club he and his students at Columbia High School are seeking assistance for this program to battle cancer through Albany Medical Center. Terry asked Jim Leyhane to get additional information on the program.


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