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In honor of Better Hearing and Speech month, Hamilton Relay is pleased to recognize Lou Touchette as the 2010 Hard of Hearing leader for the State of Arizona.

October, 13 2010

Before Lou Touchette moved to Green Valley, Arizona from Washington in 2001, he was very active as a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) chapter (formerly Self Help for Hard of Hearing People) in Snohomish County. He is passionate about educating individuals on the use of Assistive Listening Devices, including induction loop technology.

Since Lou moved to Green Valley, he has done a remarkable job of sharing his vast knowledge of induction loop technology; a looping system which generates a magnetic field that can be picked up by a hearing aid. He became acquainted with the Adult Loss of Hearing Association (ALOHA) Green Valley group and offered his assistance in installing induction loops, free of charge, for their meetings. He continued on to become a valuable member of ALOHA and helped acquire a more desirable location to host their monthly meetings where an audio visual system, looping and seating were provided and assembled at no cost.

Lou's enthusiasm and knowledge of looping attracted a number of Green Valley residents and ALOHA's monthly meetings started to grow in attendance. In 2007, he joined the Board of Directors for ALOHA and throughout the past ten years, his work with induction looping – as an advocate, installer and educator, has prompted the community to affectionately refer to him as "Looping Lou". Through ALOHA, Lou provides instruction ("Looping 101") which helps hard of hearing individuals appreciate how technology can work for them. Whether it's through their interactions with family and friends or in public venues such as churches, retirement communities, businesses and theaters, he demonstrates the value of using assistive listening technology. Because of his expertise and experience, Lou was assigned to head the "Let's Loop Tucson" committee.

In a recent collaboration between ALOHA and the University of Arizona (UA), Lou has had the opportunity to work with Audiologists, Dr. Tom Muller and Dr. Fran Harris on separate occasions. They have worked collectively in leading workshops called "Living Well with Hearing Loss". Not only do they educate on hearing loss related topics, they demonstrate the importance of cultivating relationships between patients and doctors.

Lou also contributes to an online listserv by offering suggestions regarding Loops and T-coils and serves on the Arizona Hearing Task Force. He is a strong role model to others with hearing loss and has been described by his peers as self-assured and very caring towards others. He advocates skillfully for himself and others and is proactive in seeing that Southern Arizona venues are made more accessible to those who are hard of hearing.

Lou surmises that he lost his hearing through a 40 year career working around jet engines. What he has learned in helping himself through his own hearing loss, he readily passes on to others and strives to make communicating easier for people who are hard of hearing. Arizona is fortunate to have such an individual and we congratulate him for his efforts and accomplishments in Arizona.

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