Paul D'Addario hungers for news. When the Arlington resident studied broadcast journalism at Boston University, he devoured three newspapers daily. Now 49, he still gets his fill -- but someone else does the reading.
Since 1974, the Metropolitan Washington Ear has recorded information from such papers as The Washington Post, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal for visually impaired people like D'Addario. Volunteers start reading by 6 a.m. daily and typically finish papers by noon, said the Ear's president and founder, Margaret Pfanstiehl of Silver Spring. Participants can listen to the day's news or archived material at any time.
"When my ability to read declined . . . [the Ear] helped me regain something I had lost," said D'Addario, a listener since 1991 when he began losing peripheral vision to retinitis pigmentosa.
D'Addario, an information technology manager, prefers the Ear's dial-in service, which allows him to browse through recordings of newspaper and magazine articles. The group's scheduled radio programs, which include readings from recently published books, tend to be more popular with retired listeners, said Pfanstiehl. On Sept. 28 at 9 p.m., the group will broadcast the first segment of Zbigniew Brzezinski's "The Choice" (Basic Books, 2004).
For a participant application or to learn more about the Ear's other assistive services for TV, theater and movies, call 301-681-6636 or see www.washear.org. Volunteer readers are always welcome.
-- Samantha Ganey