How the Americans With Disabilities Act Benefits All of Us

No disability? Guess what. You benefit from the Americans With Disabilities Act every single day. Let’s start with wheelchair access. Parents pushing strollers, travelers with rolling suitcases, bicyclists (who should be walking the bike, not riding), workers with hand trucks, shoppers with carts full of groceries — none of these are the intended beneficiaries of wheelchair ramps, but wheelchair ramps make life a lot easier. Doorways in new construction and in public places must accommodate wheelchairs, and in the process …

Why Did CDC Disability Report Exclude Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is often referred to as a hidden disability, but one place it shouldn’t be invisible is in a government report on disability. That’s what happened last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on the prevalence of disability in the United States. The report found that more than 53 million Americans — about 1 in 5 adults — live with a disability, which the CDC defined as having limited mobility, such as …

The Persistent Stigma of Hearing Loss—Even 25 Years After ADA

Thinking and reading about the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 25 years ago this week, has been a surprising reminder of how far we have come in a relatively short span. Twenty-five years — July 26, 1990. For me, that’s an era just past — my children were already school age, my career was established. For many of us in the AARP generation, 50 and older, 25 years ago was recent history. So it’s shocking to be reminded …

How to Enjoy the Party — Even With Hearing Loss

Summertime offers the opportunity for a kind of social encounter that those with significant hearing loss don’t get often enough — an outdoor party. Being outside, without air conditioners humming or loud music blaring, makes it easier to hear in a crowd. As long as the light is good enough to read lips — and there aren’t too many mustaches in the group — parties can be fun, even with hearing loss. Most parties are indoors, however, and even the …

Five Ways to Hear Better

Do you think you’re losing your hearing? You probably are. Two-thirds of those over 75 have some degree of hearing loss, and so do a substantial percentage of younger people. The most effective way to deal with hearing loss is to get hearing aids. But if you’re not ready for hearing aids or other hearing assistive devices, you can help your hearing by learning to listen better. You could think of it as mindful listening. Here are five tips: Face the …

Ins and Outs of Hearing Aid Coverage Under the ACA

Last week’s Supreme Court affirmation of the Affordable Care Act is good news for the 6.4 million Americans who stood to lose their health insurance if the decision had gone the other way. But it doesn’t improve matters for those with hearing loss. The ACA, unlike Medicare, does not specifically exclude coverage for hearing aids. In fact, the ACA does not specifically exclude any coverage: It was written in a positive way, delineating several categories of benefits that must be included in …