BIG News! OTC Hearing Aids coming this fall

HLAA Makes News as Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Move Closer to Store Shelves

On Tuesday, August 16, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the final rule for hearing aids sold directly to consumers, without a prescription. This will open the market to a new class of devices for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Executive Director Barbara Kelley is featured on many top media outlets as the news breaks. She talks about why HLAA supports this additional pathway to hearing health care.

While these devices aren’t for everyone, it’s an exciting step to help some treat hearing loss sooner.

HLAA Press Release (will open new page)

HLAA Boston Chapter Mini-Newsletter September, 2020

Betty Hauck writes in

A few items of interest:

ADA Anniversary

Jonathan Taylor, head of New York City HLAA chapter,  sent this link to a YouTube video of their Sept. 1 meeting celebrating the anniversary of the landmark legislation establishing the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Jonathan writes: “The September 1 chapter meeting was a celebration of the ADA, with introductory remarks by long-time chapter board member, Anne Pope, about the history of the ADA and HLAA’s role in its enactment. We were honored to have JoAnne Simon as our main speaker. Ms. Simon is a member of the NY State Assembly for the 52nd District in Brooklyn and a disability rights attorney. She is a graduate of Iona College, holds a Master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Gallaudet University, and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law, which she earned while working full time.”

You can view a captioned recording at the You Tube link

The Best Diet for Your Ears

There is a recent article in Consumer Reports about how diet is connected to hearing health. Several recent studies show that a diet that is good for your heart, like the Mediterranean Diet which emphasizes plant-based food, is also good for your hearing. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I tell all my patients with hearing loss to follow a heart-healthy diet,” Dr. Woodson says. “If it’s good for your heart, it’s going to be good for your ears, as well.”

Heart-healthy eating patterns, including the three approaches used in Curhan’s studies, are mostly centered on lots of high-quality plant-based foods and low amounts of animal-based foods, refined grains, added sugars, and unhealthy fats. To make it easy, Curhan recommends at each meal filling half your plate with fruits and veggies (but limiting starchy ones, like potatoes). The other half should be made up of whole grains and plant-based protein, such as tofu, lentils, or nuts most days, with fish and modest amounts of lean meat, and poultry less often. Unsaturated oils such as olive or vegetable oils can also be used.”

HLAA Boston Chapter Meeting, September 26, 2020

Don’t forget the first Boston Chapter meeting of the season,  Saturday the 26th, at 4 PM via Google Meet, which is captioned.

A chance to meet and greet and find out what’s new with the Boston Chapter. You will be receiving a link soon via Email.

Technical questions about using Google Meet? Andrea Kaneb is happy to help:

Be well, stay safe.

Sign language interpreters are sharing lifesaving information and becoming part of a visible pantheon of essential workers

Francine Stieglitz writes on

How Do You Sign ‘Don’t Drink Bleach’?   Today’s New York Times has an important article on the need for ASL interpreters at

Video Captions Benefit Everyone

computer/remote teaching station in NYThis is from Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the NYC HLAA Chapter. An abbreviated version appeared in the New York Times a couple of days ago in response to a piece in adapting to online learning.

Video Captions Benefit Everyone

“In 2015, Dr. Morton Ann Gernsbacher, a professor at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, published an article in the journal Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences entitled, “Video captions benefit everyone.”

 In it, she reviewed more than one hundred studies on the benefits of video captioning and found that captioning “improves comprehension of, attention to, and memory for the video” for people of all ages and hearing ability. 

Those of us with hearing loss have long understood the benefits of captioning. What may come as a surprise to people without hearing loss is that they would also be helped. For example, Gernsbacher cited a 1983 study in which children with and without hearing loss were randomly assigned to watch a video in different conditions- with audio only, captions only, or with both. On a test of comprehension of the video, the children with normal hearing outperformed those with hearing loss in all conditions. But the most interesting result is that the children without hearing loss demonstrated better comprehension after seeing the video with captions than with audio, and still better with both. Similar results were reported in a study of second and third graders learning to read, and among second language learners. With schools closed due to the coronavirus, education at all levels is primarily online with videos and lectures. This might be an opportune time for educators to consider adding captions to these presentations.

 The benefits of captions are not limited to children. Adults also benefit from captioned videos. Whether viewing commercials or college course lectures, adults with and without hearing loss were better able to remember content when videos were captioned.

Opponents of open captioning in venues such as movie theaters have sometimes claimed that only a small number of people benefit from open captions, while the large majority object to their presence. For those of us who advocate for open captioning, these empirical results provide important evidence in support.”

Boston area startups making slow progress in fight against hearing loss

Boston Globe (paywall): When a small cluster of biotechs working on drugs for hearing loss cropped up in the Boston area several years ago, it raised the hopes of legions of mostly older people who rely on hearing aids or implanted electronic devices.

Since then, investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into those local startups. The young companies have snapped up top scientists and genetic experts from Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear. And Greater Boston has emerged as the hub of hearing restoration efforts.

All the elements are in place for a breakthrough. But therapies to regenerate lost hearing — rather than simply amplify sound — still may be years away. [Full story]

HLAA’s Katherine Bouton Interviewed on Healtheo360

HLAA’s Katherine Bouton was recently interviewed on healtheo360’s weekly 30-minute live health talk show.

Katherine BoutonKatherine Bouton is a longtime former editor at the New York Times, including 10 years as Deputy Editor at The New York Times Magazine. She continues to write for many sections of the Times, and is a weekly blogger at AARP Health. She is the author of the critically acclaimed ”Shouting Won’t Help” and “Living Better With Hearing Loss. Katherine developed idiopathic progressive hearing loss at age 30 and today wears a cochlear implant and a hearing aid. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. Katherine is married to the writer Daniel Menaker and they have two grown children.

healtheo360 is a caring community for patients with chronic conditions, their caregivers, family members and friends to share their stories of inspiration, motivation and support. Every Tuesday at 1 PM ET, you can tune in to hear stories of survival, support, and innovative research from leading physicians as well as people just like you.