Opening the market to over-the-counter hearing aids: Something Congress can agree on

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Opening the market to over-the-counter hearing aids: Something Congress can agree on

Thu, 05/18/2017

We are a nation divided:  Democrats versus Republicans, Red States versus Blue States. On countless major issues, consensus seems impossible.  But there is one thing that members of the Congress apparently can agree on: Hearing aids are too darned expensive.

At $2,500 apiece, hearing aids are beyond the reach of many Americans --- especially seniors who are most likely to need them (among people 70 and older, two-thirds have a hearing loss affecting their daily conversation).  The cost of hearing aids is not covered by Medicare, or by most insurance companies.  But hearing loss has serious health consequences:  research has shown that it is associated with isolation, depression, and the risk of developing dementia. Only one in five people with a hearing loss uses a hearing aid. If hearing aids were widely available, the potential benefits to societal health and well-being are immense.

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