MSU adopts innovative hearing loss program

Feb 13, 2014

Jeffrey Astrein, an MSU graduate student, gained useful skills to deal with his hearing loss through the Kooser program.
Credit John Patrick McGuire

High schools and colleges around the country are facing an alarming trend. A number of studies, from places such as the University of Florida and the Hearing Health Foundation, report as many as one teenager in four has some degree of hearing loss.

Current State’s Kevin Lavery explains that this epidemic, of what one might loosely call early onset hearing loss, represents a marked increase over past generations. It’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of the problem. Experts say it’s not as simple as blaming it on the ubiquitous earbuds of the Digital Generation. Many say we simply live in a louder world with more audio stimulation.

Michigan State University is tackling the issue through a program that helps the hearing impaired navigate their work and personal lives. The Kooser program, named for Cathy Kooser, teaches participants techniques for coping with the emotional and social aspects of hearing loss.