Dave A. Bitters, Sr. was our Seen & Heard profile in the November/December 2016 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I met and photographed him at HLAA Convention 2016 in Washington, D.C. this past June. Dave started the HLAA Midlands Chapter in Columbia, SC.
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DAVID A. BITTERS SR. / Columbia, South Carolina / Born 1957 in Pittsburgh, PA
DO YOU BELONG TO A CHAPTER? Yes, HLAA Midlands Chapter in Columbia, South Carolina.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT HLAA? I knew about HLAA and joined this past January, but there was no local chapter or even one in the state. With the help of the Lexington, South Carolina Sertoma Club I was able to start the Midlands Chapter. Being a chapter founder and president has allowed me to develop skills that I never envisioned. Sharing my knowledge with others and helping them find support is a feeling I cannot describe.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HLAA CONVENTIONS? I like the State/Chapter Development Workshops and learning about how other chapters are run. As a first-time attendee, I found it overwhelming, but in a good way. All the information I received has motivated me even more to work and improve our town.
MY HEARING LOSS… was diagnosed when I was three years old. It was caused by a high fever from the measles. I got my first hearing aid in first grade and a cochlear implant when I was 45.
FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I found that my new puppy had chewed up my [cochlear implant] processor and I was completely deaf for three days.
MY FAVORITE LAZY DAY IS… watching three football games back-to-back-to-back.
MY BEST ROAD TRIP EVER WAS… Route 66 to the Grand Canyon.
MY FAVORITE THING TO WEAR IS… anything with the Pittsburgh Steelers colors and logo.
THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WAS… going to a deaf college.
IN MY SPARE TIME, I… golf, listen to music and watch sports, live or on TV.
MUSICALLY INCLINED? I used to play the trumpet. Now, you would beg me not to try.
FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED… Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Rochester, Binghamton,
and Poughkeepsie, New York; Columbia, South Carolina
I COLLECT… Pittsburgh sports memorabilia and small Hallmark train engines.
I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… work out problems with computers and personal
devices, and not get lost when traveling.
MY FAVORITE SEASON IS… fall, for the colors of leaves and football.
MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT IS… coaching baseball.
I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… football and baseball.
I AM… funny, friendly, and knowledgeable.
IF I RULED THE WORLD… the U.S. would have one political party where everyone works for a common goal. I hate the bickering, nothing gets done!
MY MOST-LOVED POSSESSIONS ARE… my dog and my cochlear implant.
I REALLY SHOULD START… painting my man cave.
I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… a house painter.
MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE… having a son, a good job, and surviving a hearing loss and now being able to help others on that journey.
I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… peanut butter.
FAVORITE COLOR? Black and gold
PETS? A dog, she’s a daddy’s girl
MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to get the state of South Carolina in compliance and work together to understand the needs of deaf and hard of hearing people in emergency situations.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? For helping to make a difference on earth and putting a smile on people’s faces.
A LITTLE BIT MORE… I was mainstreamed in a hearing school and then attended a deaf college. I am one of only two deaf people who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Photo Finishing Management—ever! I worked at IBM for 20 years. I received my first cochlear implant on my last job assignment and was laid off after it had been activated for just one month.
My current projects include starting the HLAA Midlands Chapter, and I also teach ASL three times a year to different senior groups. I volunteer teaching several topics related to computer technology in security and digital photography, and offer a computer help desk once a week in a senior center.
I currently teach a deaf sensitivity class twice a week at a local sheriff’s department. I work with fire departments to provide smoke alarms free of charge to people with hearing loss. I have designed a visor card for people with hearing loss in the state and for police officers.