Hearing Loss Solutions Need More Technology, Federal Support

With only a fraction of the estimated 30 million older Americans with age-related hearing loss using hearing devices, “the time is ripe for a technology solution that could be helped along by federal action,” said geriatrician Christine Cassel, M.D., last week in a report on hearing issues before a government advisory council. Cassel, a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), reported her committee’s findings on how technology could help those with mild to moderate age-related …

Frustrated by Silence at a Funeral

It clearly was a moving memorial service for a longtime friend who had died after a long illness, but I sat in silence, unable to hear the poignant stories and loving words from family and friends. The problem was something I’ve encountered all too often before: a house of worship without the technology to allow those with hearing loss to fully participate. The service was held in a beautiful 19th century church in Cambridge, Mass., in an alcove that seated about …

Why Is This ‘Technological Godsend’ Still a Secret?

It’s a boon for people with hearing loss, widely used in northern Europe, and yet in this country it still remains relatively unknown and underutilized by millions who could benefit from it. I’m talking about induction looping, which has been available in the U.S. for years. For those unfamiliar with this ingenious device, the Wall Street Journal recently called it “a technological godsend” in an op-ed column by David Myers, a psychology professor at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and …

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 …