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Blog & News

June 4, 2014

Boston Marathon Bombing Hearing Loss Victims

Filed under: General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 3:42 pm


Mr. Czech has agreed to represent the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing who were afflicted with hearing loss as they pursue appropriate compensation from “One Fund Boston”. If you or anyone you know suffered from hearing loss as a result of the bombing please contact our offices.

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State Rehabilitation Council Appointment

Filed under: General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 3:39 pm


Paul Czech was recently appointed to the New York State Rehabilitation Council. This appointment comes following a vigorous review and interview process. He was appointed to a 4 year term by Governor Cuomo.

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October 15, 2013

Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year

Filed under: General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 3:17 pm


Mr. Czech was nominated Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year in

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August 15, 2013

Move Music Festival

Filed under: Entertainment Law, General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 3:31 pm


Mr. Czech was a panelist at Move Musical Festival on April 27, 2013 in Albany, NY.

“The MOVE Music Festival is an ILMG and Avid Entertainment production. The festival will consist of approximately 100 acts performing at venues across Albany, New York on April 26-27, 2013. The main purpose of this event is to give exposure to regional talent through live performances at select venues and provide musicians with insight on how to conduct their careers in today’s independent music scene.”

-MoveMusicFest.com

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July 22, 2013

Hearing Assistive Technology Training

Filed under: General, HLAA- Albany NY — Paul Czech & Associates @ 2:03 am


Mr. Czech attended the Hearing Assistive Technology Training Program in Bethesda, Maryland this past weekend.  The program shared more insight and knowledge on topics such as, hearing loss, speech and aging; how to  identify and reduce hearing hazards; and the latest trends in technology: hearing aids, hearing loops, cochlear implants, captioning, assistive listening devices and many more.

“60 percent of people with hearing loss are between the ages of 21 and 65.  More than 20 million Americans have hearing loss from loud noise.  More than 59,000 veterans are on disability status for hearing loss.” 

 - Hearing Loss Association of America

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May 28, 2013

HLAA 30th Anniversary Gala

Filed under: General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 3:20 pm


Mr. Czech was the organizer of the HLAA 30th Anniversary Gala that took place on May 22, 2013 at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY.

Grammy Award Winning Composer Richard Einhorn presented information about his music and his experience as a person with a hearing loss who has enjoyed the assistance of hearing loop technology.  The event featured Musicians of Ma’alwyck performing works by Richard Einhorn.  Included was the music from “Voices of Light,” a musical accompaniment to the classic silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” which was performed by Albany Pro Musica in 2011 at EMPAC, and a scene from upcoming Capital Repertory Theater’s The God Game by Suzanne Bradbeer performed by Broadway actors Yvonne Perry and Kent Burnham.  Wine, champagne, an alcohol-free alternative, and hors d’oerves were served during the reception prior to the program.  The event was supported by Gala Chairman Mayor Gerald Jennings and by sponsors, the Times Union, Yonos/dPs, Capital Repertory Theater, and CoccaDotts. 

 Hearing access technology was available during the program. A section of the theater is looped for those whose hearing aids or cochlear implants have telecoils; an FM system is in operation for those who lack compatible hearing aids; and a sign language interpreter was available upon request.

The Hearing Loss Association of America—Albany Chapter anticipates an exciting future of technological advances, improved access for people with hearing loss in public listening areas, and better understanding by the general public of hearing loss and its ramifications.

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March 8, 2013

Youth Law Day

Filed under: General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 8:35 am


Mr. Czech was a speaker at Youth Law Day on March 6, 2013 at Albany High School.  Youth Law Day exposes young students to the great-potential of a law related career.  Students are brought together for the day to explore the legal profession.

NYSBA.org

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November 23, 2012

HLAA Talk on Hearing Loops

Filed under: General, HLAA- Albany NY — Paul Czech & Associates @ 12:37 pm


Mr. Czech was asked to be a speaker in Albany NY at the College of Saint Rose on the rising technology of hearing loops this past Tuesday.  

A hearing loop brings clear and quality sound with no background noise or clatter, it can be installed almost anywhere, at home, theaters, airports, train stations, courts, and so on.

“A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to a sound system.  The loops transmits the sound electromagnetically.  The electromagnetic signal is then picked up by the telecoil in the hearing aid or cochlear implant” 

- Hearing Loss Association of America

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August 5, 2011

Reflections part 2

Filed under: Columns from Our Towne Magazine, General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 9:22 am


I wanted to write a column about my next door neighbors.  Sensing that I was not going to be kind (and I wasn’t) my wife put her foot down and wouldn’t let me do it.  I understand, I suppose.  It’s best to keep up a facade and give a forced wave once in a while, difficult though it may be.  Unfortunately, I don’t always do what’s best.

Now I want to make it clear, before I move on, that I have no issue with my neighbors in the community in general.  I have always made it known that I like it here very much and part of liking it here includes a like for the people who live here as well.  There’s Rick and Sandy who are just amazing people.  The two of them have done so much for me and my family while I’ve been sick that there’s no way I could ever possibly repay them.   Rick was with me while I was unconscious in the emergency room and he came to visit on numerous occasions during my nearly two month hospital stay.  And Sandy, his wife, watched our son for us in their home when my wife was spending most of her time at the hospital with me making sure that the doctors were paying attention.  And there are lots of other things that the two of them have done for us as well that, had they not, we probably could not have survived through this past winter.  They are not related to us by blood and I’ve only known them since living here in Rensselaer County which is maybe three or four years.  They’re our neighbors and I’m very happy for it.

Then there’s the G-Man and Rocky.  Both of these guys are musicians who came to me first as clients and ended up being great friends.  Both of them took time from their extremely busy lives to visit  at the hospital and at home and have been keeping tabs on me now for months.  And Michelle and Susan, who I know from one of the boards I am affiliated with, both of them showed some very neighborly kindness while I was ill.  And Mr. P and Marian, neither of whom I have met personally , but both of whom took the time to contact me to simply wish me well after reading about my health issues in this column.   (Marian sent a question that will be answered here shortly.)  And Bill who contacted me with his advice about using an etch-a-sketch to talk with people.  I’m glad my neighbors have a good sense of humor.

I only wish that these neighbors could live next door to me.  Oh well.

So, since I can’t write about my next door neighbors, I have a very different subject to write about indeed.  Clarence Clemons.  That’s right – the “Big Man”.  The amazing saxophone player from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band who passed away just a few weeks ago.  Now I have to make myself clear here as well – I do not follow the comings and goings of celebrities.  I’m as interested in being entertained as the next guy (or gal)  but I’ve never been enamored by stardom.  I have met a few celebrities in my day (that comes with working in the entertainment industry) but, quite honestly, I was never really impressed with any of them enough to ask for an autograph.  (I take that back – I asked Julius “Dr. J” Erving for his when I made a commercial with him years ago in Philadelphia.  He’s the only one I ever asked.)   To me, drooling over someone who acts or sings is kind of distasteful and, quite honestly, I never got the feeling that any of these celebrities were better than me which is why I could never put them on a pedestal.   (This month’s column was too long to be printed here in its entirety.  To see the complete article, please visit my website at www.paulczechlaw.com.)
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Nevertheless, there are certain celebrities who have had an impact on me, sometimes for truly unknown reasons, and when they die, I am somehow affected.  Luciano Pavarotti’s death was like that for me.  Don’t get me wrong – I am by no means a big opera fan.   Yeah – I can tell Puccini from Verdi (barely).  And I have listened to Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” all the way through on more than one occasion.  I’ve even seen live Opera maybe a dozen or so times - even once at the Met.  It has never really played a huge role in my life.  Yet when I heard Pavarotti had died, it reminded me somehow that I was getting old.   Pavarotti had been around for so much of my life and had dominated opera for so long, that when I heard about his death it simply startled me.  But there was more to it than that.  I never really gave any thought to the great tenor getting sick himself or, like the rest of us, aging.  I just thought he would always be there.

Paul Newman caught me by surprise as well.  When I was a kid, Mr. Newman was a sex symbol.  I remember reading an article in some magazine that went on about whether or not he was too good looking for his own good.  What they meant was, did his looks overshadow his incredible talent as an actor.  I never gave it much thought, really.  Paul Newman’s films were one of the reasons that I started to love movies.  I remember seeing “Butch Cassidy” at a drive-in theater when I was a kid and being just absorbed in the story and the two main characters.  And then “The Sting” came along.  I remember seeing that in a theater in Queens with a few of my schoolmates.  Once again, I was totally sucked in to the story and, I remember, when it ended, I just wanted more.  Later, in college when I became “serious” about films,  I rented a few of Mr. Newman’s older films (”The Hustler”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” to name a few) on VHS.  He truly was a great actor.  And I remember thinking that he had this youth and swagger about him that he carried with him in all of his films, the later ones as well as the early ones.  Somehow I believed he would never grow old.  But he did.

And now Clarence Clemons.  I first began listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in the mid-seventies when I was going from grade school to high school.  First there was “Greetings From Asbury Park” followed by “The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle”.   The music was good -  I liked it well enough.  The lyrics reminded me so much of Bob Dylan but the music certainly didn’t sound like anything Dylan had done.  I think it was because of that saxophone sound that was woven in and out of the songs to give such a sweet contrast to Bruce’s raspy, street poet vocals.  When “Born to Run” was released, I remember looking at that now famous cover photo of Bruce leaning on Clarence while the music flowed out of my record player (and I do mean a record player.  I didn’t know from stereo yet) and thinking that it represented Springsteen’s music so well with the guitar leaning on the saxophone and both of them front and center.     Just give a listen to “Jungleland” from that album and you’ll see what I mean.

At the beginning of the eighties, I moved to Philadelphia where it seemed like everyone was obsessed with “The Boss” and his band.   I fell right in step.  I had only heard incredible things about Springsteen and his band mates and their live performance prowess.  Sometimes the stories were so incredible that I had to believe they were embellished by those rabid Philly fans.  They’d tell stories about these endless performances that went on for hours.   People would go to multiple shows claiming that not one of them was ever the same as  the one that came before it.  I finally got my chance to see the E Street Band live when they were touring behind “The River”.   And I was not disappointed.  The show lasted about 4 hours.  There was no opening act.  Springsteen was  a wild man on stage.  Even the old Spectrum in Philadelphia couldn’t contain his energy.  He had huge fans set up on either side of the stage and every once in a while, dripping with sweat,  he would go and stand in front of them to cool off.  Stage hands would pour buckets of water over him and he would shake off the excess water, put his guitar back on, and, re-energized, he would start all over again.   The “Big Man” got his turn when they played “Jungleland”.    When it came to the part where the song slows down and the saxophone solo begins,  the stage got dark except for a lone spotlight on Clarence at center stage.  You understood how he got his nickname then.  It wasn’t just because of his size (even from my seats in the middle of the arena he looked huge), it was because of his sound.  The song was his and, at that moment, so was every fan in the house.

Clarence had a band called “The Red Bank Rockers”.  When I saw he was going to perform on South Street in Philly at a place called Ripley’s (which, a few years later, was closed and was turned into the home of Philadelphia’s “Tower Records”), I bought tickets immediately.  On the night of the show, for some reason, I was running behind and I got to the club a few minutes after Clarence and his band hit the stage.  The place was packed, standing room only, and I was stuck in the back near the door unable to move anywhere else.   About five minutes after I got there, while Clarence and the band were performing, I suddenly noticed that someone, who arrived even later than I had, was standing next to me.  He was a short, dark haired guy wearing a very old, comfortable looking brown leather bomber jacket and some old worn jeans.  He just looked at me, smiled pleasantly and nodded,  and turned his attention back to the stage.   It was Bruce.  I could hardly believe it.  I’d read in Rolling Stone that he had a habit of just showing up at clubs, particularly clubs in Philadelphia, but I never thought that I would be lucky enough to be at one of those shows.  And to be standing right next him just seemed so surreal.

I didn’t give him away.  We smiled at each other a few more times, both nodded our appreciation for the “Big Man” and his band, and otherwise just enjoyed the show.   After about an hour or so, he took a big drink from the glass he was holding, and finished what was in it before he set the glass down on the table that was to our left.  Then he turned to me and smiled, this time adding a wink, and he made his way to the front of the club and got up on stage.  He was no longer anonymous.  He picked up a guitar and he started with a rousing cover of a fast rock song, the title of which I’ve since forgotten.  I used to know but, through the years, the excitement of what happened that night has somehow made me forget. When he finished it, he reached up and touched the ceiling above him, then did an abbreviated jump in the air, being careful not to smack his head against the stucco above.   Everyone could see he was way too big for a club that size.   For his second song, he did a version of his own “Because The Night” , the song he and Patti Smith wrote that she had a hit with.  When it was over, he waved to the audience as he took off his guitar and exited stage right.

And despite all of that, Clarence was the star that night.  There was no denying it.  He commanded the stage without “The Boss”, so much so that no one even noticed that Springsteen was there until he went on stage.  That’s a pretty strong presence.  He stood back and let his special guest have the spotlight, but, when Bruce was finished, Clarence just picked up where he left off and continued with the show.  What a gentleman.  What a star.  And, for me, one incredibly memorable night.

And now Clarence is gone.  His death brought the memory of that night back to me as if it had just happened yesterday.  It’s hard for me to believe that all that took place over 25 years ago.  And so, once again, I am reminded that death comes to all of us, even those that make our lives seem more special than they really are.   None of this makes me sad at all.  This is not some kind of morbid obsession that I have.  It’s just a reality check brought on unexpectedly by people who impacted my life without ever even knowing it and I’m grateful for it.   And because of that, when they passed, I was reminded to not take life for granted which I don’t.  It comes and goes far too quickly to ignore and there are way too many things to experience and enjoy.   So I just want to give one last thanks to the “Big Man” for giving me such great memories and, in the end, for reminding me to keep on living life to the fullest.   Here’s to you, Clarence.

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March 24, 2011

Ask the Attorney – April 2011

Filed under: Columns from Our Towne Magazine, General — Paul Czech & Associates @ 4:16 pm


I don’t think it’s possible to understand what it’s like to be disabled until you actually are disabled.  I’m not saying that you can’t be sympathetic.  I’m sure all of us are that in one way or another, even if it is simply based on the premise of being thankful that you are not the one who is afflicted.  But unless you lose the ability to use one or more of your senses or until you become physically incapable of moving the way most people in the world can, you can’t know how difficult it is to live with a handicap.

I am getting this experience first hand.  Since I became ill in January of this year, I have been unable to hear and I have been diagnosed as having a “profound hearing loss”.  That seems to be the politically correct way of saying I am deaf although I am uncertain as to why the term deaf is inappropriate and offensive.  Perhaps it is not and it is simply too narrow a term to be applied to the number of different types of hearing losses that can occur.  For instance, my particular loss resulted from an infection and, because of the way the loss came about, there are certain hearing loss remedies that cannot be applied to me.  Hearing aids will not work for me because the infection actually damaged a part of my ears that sends the sound signal to my auditory nerve and onto my brain.  Since the signal can no longer be sent, simple amplification of sound will not correct my hearing problem.  The only potential solution for me, so I am told, is to have implants surgically placed in my ears that will bypass the affected area and send a signal directly to my auditory nerve potentially allowing me to regain all or some of my hearing.  If my audiotory nerve had been damaged, the implant solution would not work for me either.  I have a very good friend who was born without one of her ears and with a profound hearing loss in the one she has as a result of fetal alcohol syndrome.  She manages to get by very well with a hearing aid supplemented by an amazing ability to read peoples lips as they speak.  Like I said, or sort of said, there are many different types of hearing losses and all of them are very different.

I have no such ability to read lips or sign language which is why I am all too aware of how isolated you can be when you are disabled.  My friends and colleagues, who have all been very supportive and completely understanding, are often, innocently, and unintentionally the worst offenders.  Everything starts out okay – everything is written down (yes…I’ve been killing lots of trees these days) or typed into a laptop and we manage to communicate quite nicely with each other.  And then they get tired of writing or typing and they start talking amongst themselves and, before you know it, twenty minutes has gone by and the only communication I’ve had are with the private thoughts rattling around in my own head and I get lost in my own world.  While my visitors are conversing about who knows what, I’m usually listening to music or figuring out what the next topic will be for this column.  It’s music mostly.  That great jukebox in my mind is always cycling through some music catalogue or another. I’ve found this to be the only way to get through long, tedious, claustrophobic bone scans and MRIs.  I pick a song and begin playing from beginning to end and, if I slip up on the lyrics or play some notes in the wrong order, I start from the beginning again.  It’s a great way to kill time during medical procedures but it proves to be rather antisocial when I’m sitting with a group of friends, family or colleagues.  Unfortunately, I am left no other choice when, instead of communicating with me, they talk amongst themselves and I am left completely in the dark.  And what if this hearing loss had been something I was born with instead of something that came upon me after I had already had a chance to develop a mental catalogue of memories, images, sounds and ideas?  I can not even begin to imagine the loneliness or the feeling of isolation that someone afflicted in that way has to live with.  Perhaps it’s not lonely at all but, instead, simply different.  If you’ve never heard sound then you don’t rely on it.

And then there’s the frustration.  I’m not talking about mine – I think I’ve already explained mine.  I’m talking about the frustration that I see in those around me.  I believe it comes from the fact that we, as non-disabled people, never really have to think about communicating with each other when all of our senses are intact.  However, when one of those senses is broken or missing, we have no idea as to how to adapt ourselves so that we can communicate with a disabled person appropriately.  For instance, I cannot tell you how many times someone finds out that I can not hear and, for some reason, I can see them opening their mouths wider, speaking louder, in an attempt to speak to make me hear them.  It’s a nervous reaction, really, that stems from not knowing what to do or how to communicate appropriately.  And hand gestures – I never know what they are supposed to mean because they have no context for me and I find myself simply guessing as to which of the many meanings the communicator is relying on.  Of course, after my third or fourth incorrect guess, I can see the frustration on the communicators face as they begrudgingly find a pen and some paper to write down what they want me to know.  Which is probably what they should have done in the first place.

My ears may not work but my other senses still do.  And believe me, I’m very grateful for that.

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