Hearing Health and Aids
Affordable Hearing Health
If you or someone you know is experiencing any type of hearing problem, organizations are helping Americans all over the country get the assistance they need. The ears need to be checked regularly, just as your teeth and eyes. There are various types of problems that can cause hearing loss, such as noise-induced, sensorineural, or age related. Congenital hearing loss is present at birth and conductive hearing loss is sound that cannot pass freely through the ear. Hearing problems are most common in those 65 and older, due primarily to age, but children and other adults are also at risk. This problem is usually gradual but can become severe over time. After a hearing test, hearing aids are typically recommended if hearing is so low that it interferes with everyday life. Hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars and few health insurance policies pay for hearing exams or aids. Hearing aids are so expensive because just like a television, they are an electronic device. The low demand of these aids makes them expensive to produce, making the price of hearing aids very large. Here are resources and tips on how to get low cost or free audiological care and hearing aid assistance.
Information and Tips:
- Always check to see what your insurance (if any) will cover
- Make sure all information is up to date and you have a diagnosis from a doctor when applying for hearing aid financial aid.
- The Department of Health and Human Services may have information on free hearing aids.
- Utilize organizations like The National Institute of Deafness or the Better Hearing Institute.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance exchanges are helping cover some of the costs of hearing aids, depending on the state.
- If you are a Veteran, you have benefits that help cover hearing aids if the loss connected to military services or medical condition treated at a VA hospital.
- If you are federal employee or a family member, you have access to health coverage that pays for a basic hearing aid.
- Private insurers: Check your state government offices to find out which insurers provide hearing coverage, specifically to employers in the state.
- Try to consult with the following resources in your local community to find the best option for you.
- Speech and Hearing Clinics
- Senior Care centers
- Deaf Community Centers
- Hearing Aid Banks
- Child Health Centers
- Religious organizations or institutions
- Community based organizations
- Hearing programs
- Government resources
(note *children’s specific)
- Audient: Non-Profit providing hearing care and aids all over the country through providers that help those with low-income.
- Hearing Loss Association of America: Provides information on financial aid assistance for those in need of hearing aids. http://www.hearingloss.org/
- Lions Club International: Local Lions Club determines eligibility based on income for hearing tests, helps acquire hearing aids, fittings, and follow up appointments. http://www.lcif.org/EN/our-work/humanitarian-efforts/hearing.php
- Miracle Ear Foundation: Donors help provide hearing aids, follow up care, and resources to people with hearing loss and low finances. http://www.miracle-ear.com/miracle-ear-foundation
- Sertoma: Hearing aid recycling programs are made available through this organization. http://sertoma.org/
- Starkey Hearing Foundation: Provides hearing aids under the Hear Now program. Call 1-800-328-8602 to speak with a consultant. https://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/
- Healthy Hearing: Find lists of hearing aid manufacturers and information on financial assistance. http://www.healthyhearing.com/
- Easter Seals: Provides lists and referrals to local programs for financial aid depending on state and federal laws. http://es.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=CTWA_audiology_services
- Quota International: Provides funding for infant hearing screenings. http://www.quota.org/we-share-foundation/infant-hearing-screening/
- Knights of Columbus: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/hearing-loss-resources/financial-assistance/knights-columbus
- AgrAbility Project: Assists those in the agricultural business who have hearing loss. http://agrability.org/About-AgrAbility/about.cfm
- Hope for Hearing Foundation and Hearing Aid Bank: Refers those with financial burdens to hearing aid dispensers. http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/hearing-loss-resources/financial-assistance/hope-hearing-foundation-and-hearing-aid
- *Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, Inc.: Offers financial grants on an individual basis for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. http://www.agbell.org/
- *Disabled Children’s Relief Fund: Non-profit that helps provide hearing aids and other care to children with inadequate health insurance. http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/hearing-loss-resources/children/disabled-childrens-relief-fund
- *The Hike Fund, Inc.: Assists in providing hearing devices for kids with financial problems, age 0 to 20. http://thehikefund.org/
- *Miracle-Ear: Hearing aids are provided to children up to 16 years old that cannot receive public support financially. http://www.miracle-ear.com/
- *Hearing Aid Loaner Bank: Through Oticon Pediatrics, hearing aids are provided to newborns up to age 3 who are in need of financial assistance or awaiting aid. http://www.infanthearing.org/ha-loaner/
- *United Healthcare Children’s Foundation: Non-profit that assists children and families with medical grants for equipment like hearing aids through donors. http://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/family-health/unitedhealthcare-childrens-foundation
Medicare: Under Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), diagnostic hearing and balancing exams are covered provided that your doctor or health provided order these tests for medical treatment. You must pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount for the doctor’s services for covered exams. Part B deductibles apply. However, Medicare does not cover hearing exams or hearing aids. Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plans by private insurance companies, do offer additional coverage for hearing aids at an extra price. Always talk to your doctor about your options or visit http://www.medicare.gov to get more information.
Medicaid: This coverage depends on the state. Visit http://www.medicaid.gov to find more information. The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of coverage by state and more information at http://www.hearingloss.org/content/medicaid-regulations.
There are websites online that will let you take a free hearing test. These sites help determine range of tones and determine hearing deficiencies. If you are experiencing hearing loss it is best to seek a healthcare professional. These tests simply help perceive whether or not you might need to seek help from a hearing care professional.