Even though hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities, it is also one of the most misunderstood and underestimated disability. It has been called the "invisible" condition because it is not possible to "see" a hearing loss directly, only its effects upon behavior and communication. The fact that these effects can be so variable depending upon the individual and the situation is what makes hearing loss such a confusing condition.
In short, it is not a condition that should be treated casually, with haphazard, ill-advised and superficial measures taken to ameliorate its effects. Such an approach trivializes the impact that impaired communication can have upon the life and well being of the affected person. Given the significance of the sense of hearing, HLAA believes that people with hearing loss require the care of qualified professionals who follow best professional practices.
80% of people who could benefit from hearing aids do not get them. There are many reasons why people do not seek help for their hearing loss but we should not underestimate the impact of the cost of hearing aids. The number one inquiry that comes into the HLAA office is about affording hearing aids and the number one page visited on the HLAA website is the information fact sheet on financial aid for hearing technology.
To overcome the barrier that cost presents and to encourage more people to take action to treat their hearing loss HLAA has been focusing on ways to improve access to affordable hearing health care. There is no one silver bullet and so we are working on several fronts:
- Educating about itemization of professional services & price transparency
- Supporting Hearing Aid Tax Credit legislation: H.R. 1479 & S 905
- Advocating for insurance coverage & tax relief in the states
- Supporting lower cost options for consumers
- Supporting Direct Access for Medicare Recipients
- Insurance coverage under employer plans
- HLAA member discounts for hearing aids
- Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act
Supporting innovative approaches to entering the hearing health care system
- Mobile apps
- Software to program hearing aids/implants
Read more on our Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care page.
August 17, 2012: Unprecedented joint letter issued from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the American Academy of Audiology (the Academy) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to educate their members on issues as wide ranging as Internet sales, rehabilitation needs of consumers, and engaging consumers to ethics for the profession. See the full letter.
HLAA applauds ADA, the Academy, and ASHA for joining HLAA in supporting consumer needs and setting a path for audiologists to evaluate how their practices will respond to and work in a new hearing health care delivery system.
HLAA continues to work with professionals to ensure accessible, affordable and available hearing health care to a wider number of consumers. We will be joining ASHA at their summit, Changing Health Care Landscape, in October 2012.
This is one more example of HLAA working toward and reaching goals that benefit consumers.