Washington, D.C.: Brenda Battat, executive director of HLAA arranged for a meeting with acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson to talk about the need for more public education about hearing loss. HLAA invited six other stakeholder groups to join the meeting at which they stressed the need to start a public dialogue about the causes, impact on physical and psychosocial well being of untreated hearing loss, treatment options available, the stigma effect and the need to protect hearing from noise. There are 31.5 million Americans with hearing loss with 10 million resulting from noise exposure that could have been prevented but cannot be reversed. Hearing aids are effective devices but they are underutilized with less than 25 % of people who could benefit actually using them.
Left to right, back to front Alex Graham (AGBell), Andy Bopp (HIA), Phil Bongiorno (AAA)
Karen Sealander (IHS), Barbara Raimondo (NAD), Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, Acting Surgeon General, Brenda Battat (HLAA), Joy Trimmer (AAO-HNS), acting deputy surgeon general, Robert.C.Williams
WE NEED YOU TO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TO ASK THEM TO SUPPORT THE HEARING AID TAX CREDIT BILL
HR 2329. Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act. What is it exactly?
HR 2329 provides a tax credit of up to $500 per hearing aid, available once every 5 years, towards the purchase of such hearing aid, available to: 1) individuals age 55 and over, or 2) those purchasing a hearing aid for a dependent.
HR 2329 is not intended to cover the full cost of hearing aids, but will simply provide some measure of financial assistance to the groups who are most in need of these devices but are unable to afford them: those approaching or in retirement, and families with children.
Why do we need this special tax treatment for hearing aids?
- While 95% of individuals with hearing loss could be successfully treated with hearing aids, only 22% (6.35 million Americans) currently use them according to the most recent ‘MarkeTrak’ report, the largest national consumer survey on hearing loss in America.
- It is estimated that there are 31.5 million Americans with hearing loss. Included in this figure are 1 million children under the age of 18 with a diagnosed hearing loss who are not now using a hearing aid, and around 9.7 million Americans age 55 and over.
- 40% of individuals with hearing loss have incomes of less than $30,000 per year. A Department of Commerce study indicates that the overall family income of people with hearing loss is almost half that of the general population.
- 30% of those with hearing loss cite financial constraints as a core reason they do not use hearing aids, according to a MarkeTrak report.
- The average cost for a hearing aid in 2002 was over $1,400, and almost 2/3 of individuals with hearing loss require two devices, thereby increasing the average out of pocket expense to over $2,800.
- Hearing aids are not covered under Medicare, or under the vast majority of state mandated benefits. In fact, 71.4% 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’.
As of October 2007 HR 2329 had 60 cosponsors and the Senate Bill, S 1410 had 7. To see if your Senator or Congressional Representative is a co sponsor of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit go to
List of cosponsors for HR 2329:
Dear Congressman _________:
I am writing to ask you to support H.R. 2329, the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill. Very few health insurances cover hearing aids and Medicare excludes them from coverage. As a result, Americans with a hearing loss are forced to pay out of their own pockets for hearing aids that can cost as much as $2-$3,000 each. Something has to be done to help people get the hearing aids they need.
(Include a paragraph talking about your own experience with hearing loss and trying to afford hearing aids that you need)
Please sign on as a cosponsor of this bill. I thank you for considering this