Lefkowitz featured in Duke Health story on hearing

Friday, June 30, 2017

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, had trouble hearing questions in large lecture halls -- until he tried today’s hearing aids.

Dr. Lefkowitz, 74, has received some of the world’s most prestigious honors for his research, which has made possible the development of countless medicines. But, like many people, the Duke professor started to notice a decline in his hearing as he got older. “For a number of years, I have been aware of gradually reduced hearing acuity,” he said. At meetings with his lab group of about 20 researchers, he said, “More and more often I would have to say, ‘Could you say that again?’ While watching TV, I virtually always had the closed-captioning on.”

Dr. Lefkowitz knew hearing aids could help, but he had misgivings. “My mother wore them for years. They were always misfiring and giving off this loud tweeting noise,” he said. Eventually, though, the frustration drove him to seek a solution.

Professional Help for Hearing Loss

Dr. Lefkowitz made his way to Duke audiologist Diane Catalano, AuD, who reviewed the results of his hearing tests and talked with him about what hearing aid options might be best for him, based on his lifestyle and his communication difficulties.

 “What was really great was that he was there with his wife,” Catalano said. “We always love to have a familiar communication partner at the appointment. It helps to let us know what, if any, impact the hearing loss is having on the patient.”

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