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 …

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 …

Safer Summer Travel

Summer travel often means staying in a hotel or motel room, or in a succession of hotels if you’re on a tour. It can be a great luxury, but especially if you’re moving from one place to another every few days, it can get confusing. I’m sure every one of us has left something in a hotel room: a converter plugged into the wall, your toothbrush, clothes hanging in a closet. For those with a disability, it can also be …

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 …

Should Police and Firefighters Be Allowed To Wear Hearing Aids?

When public safety and the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act come into conflict, public safety prevails. But that doesn’t mean the ADA should be tossed aside. In fact, compliance with the ADA gives us a more effective police force. In a case that came to federal court in March in New York, two police officers who had been forcibly retired because they wore hearing aids were reinstated with back pay. The ruling covered all current police officers, and presumably all recruits as …