Do You Know How to Find an Audiologist?

October is National Audiology Awareness Month, which seems a good time to ask: Do you know how to find an audiologist to test your hearing or help you choose a hearing aid? If you’re unsure — or shaking your head no — you’re not alone. In a short video I saw last weekend at a hearing symposium, a dozen people were stopped on the street at random and asked that question. Most of them had no idea: “Google it?” “Go …

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 …

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 …

Love Theater But Can’t Hear It? Four Showstopping Solutions

Do you love the theater but rarely go because you can’t understand the dialogue or lyrics? Fortunately there are several solutions to this problem beyond the familiar infrared headphones that many theaters offer. And those with hearing loss can even get discount tickets to many shows. First, about infrared. Theaters that seat more than 50 people are required, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide hearing assistance. Most offer infrared systems. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss …

Me and My Smartphone: A Love-Hate Relationship

For someone with moderate to severe hearing loss, the smartphone is both savior and nemesis. I can’t imagine life without a smartphone, but I can imagine many ways that it could be better. First the savior aspect: I have at least two and sometimes three ways to communicate using text. The first is email. The second is texting. And the third, when it works, is captioning for telephone calls. I can also pay for my coffee, go to my gym, …

Good Friends Make for Better Health

I got an email from someone I didn’t know this week, saying how comforting she had found my book, especially the chapter about friendship. ‘‘My ‘friends’ all know that I am deaf,” she wrote. “Some try to look at me more (that doesn’t last too long), some try to talk slower (that doesn’t last long). I am amazed at how impatient they get with me. I am amazed how inconsiderate they are. “I was at a lovely luncheon yesterday in a restaurant …