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Hearing loss in New York City | Be part of the conversation

Contributed by | Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

“New York, New York! It’s a helluva town!” three sailors sing as they begin a 24-hour leave from their ship docked in the NYC harbor in the 1944 musical comedy "On the Town." Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the lyrics; Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelley and Jules Munshin made them famous in the 1949 musical comedy film. 

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But it’s no laughing matter if you’re trying to navigate a big city like NYC with hearing loss. Navigating traffic, finding your place in the crowd, and working everything the city has to offer into your schedule can be daunting at times. Fortunately, some of the Big Apple’s most popular attractions are hearing-friendly. Whether you are deaf, wear hearing aids, or travel with someone who does, let Healthy Hearing’s guide help you make the most of your time in the City that Never Sleeps.

Theaters with assistive listening

You almost can’t turn the corner in New York City without running into a theater of some kind. And, whether you want to attend opening night of the latest Broadway play or are an aficionado of the off-Broadway avant-garde, there’s no reason to let your hearing loss prevent you from enjoying the show.

The Theater Development Fund, a nonprofit service organization for the performing arts, sponsors select New York performances with ASL interpreting, audio description or open captioning. Upcoming shows include Amazing Grace (Nederlander Theater), Wicked (Gershwin Theater), The King and I (Vivian Beaumont Theater), Jersey Boys (August Wilson Theater) and Kinky Boots (Al Hershfeld Theater). For more information on these performances, visit the tdf website, select Accessibility Programs from the Quick Menu in the top right hand side, and then choose hearing loss to see the full list of available shows, ticket prices and deadlines.

Museums with assistive listening

If museum life is more your style, you’re in luck there, too. Most of the public venues, especially the major attractions, offer assistive listening devices for their patrons. Here are a few we found:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Gallery talks, symposia and lectures with FM assistive listening devices are scheduled on a regular basis. Headsets and neck loops are available free of charge for programs offered in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. Audio guide programming and real-time captioning are also available. For more information and to view a schedule of upcoming events, visit the museum’s website.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

ASL interpretation is provided for specific tours and gallery programs. Headsets and neck loops are available for all performances and lectures in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. Multimedia guides, covering special exhibitions, selections from the permanent collection and the architecture of the building, are also available before 5:15 p.m.


The museum offers open captioning of exhibition videos. The IMAX theater offers assistive listening devices, audio-description and rear-window captioning.

Museum of Modern Art

Individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss can enjoy interpretation and amplification services at this attraction. All theaters and classrooms are equipped with induction loop systems that transmit directly to hearing aids. Bi-monthly receptions focus on one of the museum’s special exhibits and are followed by sign-language interpreted gallery talk. FM assistive listening devices are available for all Gallery Talks.

Hearing loss organizations

Whether you recently experienced hearing loss or have been living with it for some time, don’t isolate yourself. Many organizations dedicating to educating and supporting individuals with hearing loss exist in your community. Here are a few we found in New York City:

Hearing Loss Association of America New York City Chapter

This community meets monthly and enjoys listening to speakers cover a wide range of hearing health topics. The also organize an annual Walk4hearing fundraiser, which helps fund their mission at the national and local level.

Empire State Association for the Deaf

ESAD is an affiliate member of National Associate of the Deaf and is celebrating 150 years of advocacy services for the deaf in New York State. They offer a variety of civic activities, leadership training workshops, support services as well as a biennial convention.

Hearing healthcare professionals

If you’re looking for a hearing healthcare professional in New York City, be sure to visit Healthy Hearing’s online directory. Our comprehensive listing includes contact information, authentic patient reviews and a five-star average review rating score for audiologists, hearing aid centers and ear doctors within a 30-mile radius of your zip code.

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