WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2011 — Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) reintroduced the bipartisan Hearing Aid Tax Credit (S. 905) with 8 original co-sponsors on May 5, 2011. The bill is unchanged from legislation in the 111th Congress. In the House, Reps Tom Latham (R-IA) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have already reintroduced H.R. 1479 with the support of 36 Representatives.
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit would provide assistance to many of the 34 million people who need hearing aids to treat their hearing loss. Medicare expressly excludes coverage of hearing aids as do most private insurance policies, and as a result, cost is cited as a prohibitive factor by two thirds of the people who do not treat their hearing loss. If enacted, S. 905 would provide a $500 tax credit per hearing aid to people of all ages, which differs from the House bill which would cover children and people age 55 and older. That would be a critical assist since more than 60% of all hearing aid purchases involve no third party payment of any kind, and only 25% of people who could benefit from hearing aids actual use them according to the latest MarkeTrak report.
HIA’s Chairman, Todd Murray, points out that “given that hearing aids can help 95% of people with hearing loss, it is tragic that the lack of financial assistance continues to create a significant barrier to access for millions of Americans.” S. 905 is actively supported as a way to provide some assistance by numerous organizations including AARP, the Alexander Graham Bell Assn for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), Hearing Loss Assn of America (HLAA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), American Speech Language Hearing Assn (ASHA), American Tinnitus Association (ATA), International Hearing Society (IHS) and Hearing Industries Association (HIA).
This legislation has attracted dramatic grassroots attention, motivating Americans across the nation to send more than 75,000 emails and letters to their elected Senators and Representatives since 2008 by visiting www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org . Murray notes that “hearing loss is an issue that affects millions of people, and this legislation could have a great impact on their ability to afford hearing aid treatment - we are honored that so many Representatives have recognized this fact and have lent this cause record support.”
Hearing Loss Association of America supports passage of this important legislation.