People who use hearing aids frequently complain about their high prices. Often their families complain too, since the unaffordability of a solution means continual frustrations for both speaker and listener, and a deepening sense of isolation for all. Organizations from the National Association for the Deaf to The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) have been campaigning for years for a tax credit of up to $500 to cover costs for the purchase of a hearing aid that is not covered by insurance. The credit would only be available to parents of children with hearing losses, or adults over 55. If you fall into either of those categories, your income must not exceed $200,000.
Reasonable as that all may seem, the bill is alas, stuck in committee, with a predicted 0% chance of getting passed. Still, we like to tilt at windmills, so we suggest you look at BHI’s site dedicated to the bill.
Outside of Washington, there’s a wonderful effort to get hearing aids to more people. The Kentucky Assistive Technology Network (KATS) is running a drive to collect old hearing aids, which they will clean (obviously) and refurbish, and then distribute to those who can’t afford the several thousand dollar cost of new aids.
If you wish to donate, you can contact KATS at 800.327.5287 for a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Or you might consider starting such a program for your own local community. If you know of any similar, existing programs, please let us know and we’ll get the word out.