Bulletin News

“Here to Hear” Comedy Tour Stops at SUNY Cortland


When “The Hearing Aid Guy” talks, he wants you to listen. And he sincerely hopes that you laugh.

That is, after all, his job.

Comedian D.J. Demers will help SUNY Cortland recognize Disabilities Employment Awareness Month on Monday, Oct. 30, when he performs his unique standup comedy routine at 8 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

Also known as “The Hearing Aid Guy,” Demers makes jokes about his disability as a way to raise awareness of hearing loss and shatter stigmas through laughter.

 “I’ve begun to acknowledge that my hearing aids are not a small part of who I am,” said Demers. They are a huge part of my identity.”

Cortland is one of the final stops on Demers’ comedy tour, “Here to Hear,” which is performing  at 20 different colleges around the country in October to coincide with Disabilities Employment Awareness Month.

SUNY Cortland has a decades-old reputation for disability education and is home to a nationally respected speech and communication disorders program.

Demers, who has worn hearing aids since he was four years old,   has performed on the late-night television show “Conan” twice and competed on Season 11 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2016.

“I’ve always wanted to be a comedian and I always remember as a kid having a joke ready, but I knew it would be a challenge,” Demers said during his America’s Got Talent audition. “Growing up, I think that comedy and making my friends laugh was a way for me to connect to people and be something other than a boy with hearing aids.”

Throughout his standup act, Demers pokes fun at his own disability, making audiences laugh with him, not at him.

“You found the humor in your reality of who you are,” “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel told him.

Demers was a finalist on “StandUp NBC,” the network’s annual diversity talent search.

He also won the 2014 Homegrown Comics Competition at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Canada, the 2013 Toronto Comedy Brawl, and earned Best Breakout Artist at the 2015 Canadian Comedy Awards. He was a featured performer at Toronto's JFL42 comedy festival in 2014.

The tour is sponsored by Phonak, a  national provider of hearing aids and other wireless communication services. According to a study from 2011 by the International Journal of Audiology, 7 percent of college students need hearing aids, but are unaware of the technology available to them. By teaming up for the “Here to Hear” tour, Demers and Phonak hope to raise awareness about available technology to help other students achieve their dreams.

College students with hearing loss may qualify to receive subsidies for hearing technology. More information is available at HeretoHeartour.com.

Prepared by Communications Office intern McKenzie Henry