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.