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HLAA Tries To Make Hearing Aids More Affordable

HLAA Tries To Make Hearing Aids More Affordable

May 2011

HLAA has long fought to address the number one issue for people with hearing loss – making hearing aids affordable. When people cannot afford hearing aids it impacts their work and earning potential, relationships, education opportunities, and their ability to participate socially.

Unlike other health concerns, hearing loss is still not universally recognized as a public health issue despite the fact that it is the third largest health problem after heart disease and arthritis in America today! HLAA is working hard to change that. Recognition as a public health issue means people with hearing loss will have access to appropriate and cost-effective hearing health care.

While 95% of individuals with hearing loss could successfully be treated with hearing aids, only 22% currently use them according to the ‘MarkeTrak’ report, the largest national consumer survey on hearing loss in America.

For too many Americans, of all ages, the high cost of hearing aids creates barriers to effectively treating their hearing loss. This leads to isolation from family and friends, frustration or even discrimination on the job or in school – being left behind in the world of 21st century technology that dominates every facet of our lives.

Yet it is this same technology that can open the world of communication for people with hearing loss – allowing us to participate and enjoy the everyday sounds at home, work, school, and in public and private venues – connecting us to the rest of the world. HLAA needs your financial support in our Campaign to Make Hearing Aids Affordable. Loyal supporters like you can make the Campaign a success!

Hearing aids are not covered under Medicare, or under the vast majority of state-mandated benefits. In fact, 71% of hearing aid purchases involve no third-party payments, which place the entire burden of the hearing aid purchase on the consumer, according to ‘MarkeTrak.’

Bundled vs. Unbundled

Currently, the cost of a hearing aid is bundled with costs for professional services from audiologists and hearing instrument specialists including follow-up visits for hearing aid adjustment and counseling in successful hearing aid use.

Unbundled – a cost breakdown of the hearing aid and of professional services provided – lets consumers know what they are paying for.

Audiologists and hearing instrument specialists provide valuable services to consumers with hearing loss, helping them to manage their hearing loss and live well with it. But consumers should be able to make informed decisions when they spend hard-earned dollars on their hearing aids. HLAA believes unbundled hearing aids along with cost transparency is the model that most benefits consumers with hearing loss.

Cutting hearing aid costs will help more people benefit from this life-changing technology. People with hearing loss who require intervention and treatment and don’t seek help cite cost as a major factor. Most hearing aid users live with hearing loss for more than 7 years and their condition progresses to moderate to severe levels before purchasing a hearing aid.

HLAA’s Campaign to Make Hearing Aids more Affordable

Here is how HLAA is working to make hearing aids affordable:
* Advocating for recognition of hearing loss as a public health issue
* Advocating for the unbundling of hearing aids and professional services
* Supporting low-cost options for consumers
* Advocating for insurance coverage and tax relief in the states
* Supporting the Hearing Aid Tax Credit legislation to be re-introduced this year in Congress
* Creating a consumer feedback page on our website to rate satisfaction with their hearing aids – Provide HLAA with your feedback, please see note below.

Federal employees, active military and their dependents and veterans have insurance coverage for hearing aids. But most people have to pay out of pocket. After a house and a car, two hearing aids are probably the most expensive item anyone purchases in a lifetime.

HLAA thanks our loyal supporters – like you who know the difference a hearing aid can make – who can help change lives.

Here are just a few examples of the real stories HLAA receives every day from people who cannot afford a hearing aid.
* The grandson looking for help for his 80 year-old grandmother who could not afford to replace her hearing aids when both stopped working at the same time.
* A parent posting a notice in her local grocery store asking for financial help when she could not afford to purchase hearing aids for her daughter.
* A single mother who fears her job threatened because she cannot afford to get hearing aids.

Your support for HLAA’s Campaign, at any level, can make a difference. Please make a contribution today and support HLAA’s Campaign to Make Hearing Aids Affordable.

Source: Hearing Loss Association of America