Older patients on fixed incomes frequently have trouble paying for healthcare. They are more likely to have problems with transportation and mobility problems, and estimates indicate that 15% of older adults in the U.S. do not have access to the internet and all the valuable information found online. All of these considerations make it difficult for older adults to access healthcare. Hearing healthcare services can be almost impossible to receive for older people with hearing problems. A new study is casting light on this problem and will hopefully encourage Medicare to expand its coverage of hearing healthcare services.
Access To Hearing Care Services Study
Approximately 20 million Americans aged 60 and older have untreated hearing loss. The high cost of hearing aids often makes accessing hearing health services difficult. According to research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, A high proportion of older adults with hearing aids experience problems hearing and difficulty accessing hearing healthcare services.
The findings, based on Medicare survey data, encourage the federal government to expand Medicare coverage of hearing healthcare. The 1,133 Medicare participants in the study indicate that income level decides whether a hearing aid will function properly or not. Twenty-seven percent of the participants in the study report trouble with hearing aids as opposed to 11 percent in the highest income category. Those in the lower income category feel that limited access to hearing services prevent their hearing aids from optimal performance. The researchers believe that an expansion of Medicare services for hearing health will benefit those in lower income categories by giving them more access to hearing aid services.
Help With Hearing Aids
Some programs and foundations can financially assist older people who need hearing aids. A great place to start is the Hearing Loss Association of America which may provide information regarding any city, county, or state programs that can help. Several nonprofit organizations can help with discounted or even free hearing aids. Here are a few:
- Hear Now. This plan provides hearing aids for people with net incomes below $19,058 for singles and $25,743 for couples. The only costs are the hearing evaluation and an application fee of $125.
- Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project. When you think of the Lions club, you might think glasses. However, this organization also provides a chance for people to purchase new digital hearing aids at a significant Contact your local chapter to see if you qualify for the project.
- Sertoma. This civic organization operates a hearing aid recycling program nationwide. The group refurbishes hearing aids and distributes them to local people in need of hearing aids.
- Audient. This program assists people in the purchase of new, digital hearing aids at reduced prices. Incomes must be less than $27,075 for a single or $36,425 for couples to be eligible.
If you would like more resources, check out the Better Hearing Institute for a listing of more resources to help you find the hearing aids you need. You can also call the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at 800-241-1044 for a list of hearing aid financial resources.