When America's 44th President is sworn in on January 20, 2009, will the cure - or at least some relief - for our ailing economy be on the horizonr
You may be wondering what the economy has to do with hearing aids, rightr Well, a lot.
When people have less disposable income, they spend money on necessities such as food, mortgage, utilities, and gas. Hearing aids, which cost, on average, between $1,000 and 4,000 do not figure on most people's "must-have" lists.
Poor economy has forced healthcare consumers to think twice on costs
In fact, two out of three adults with hearing loss cite financial constraints as a reason they do not wear hearing aids, even though they need them. Although hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic health disorders in the United States, neither Medicare nor most private insurance plans cover the cost of hearing aids. In fact, some figures show that nearly two-thirds of hearing aids currently used in this country are paid entirely by the consumers.
Is it fairr Certainly not, considering that assistive hearing technology is not merely helpful but absolutely essential for our health and safety.
As a matter of fact, numerous studies clearly show that hearing aids not only increase our overall quality of life, but also ensure that warnings such as fire alarms or the sounds of oncoming traffic don't fall - literally - on deaf ears, thus putting our lives in danger.
The golden years with no silver lining
Hearing loss - and thus a need for hearing aids - can impact people at any age, but those over 65 are most affected. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about one in three U.S. adults between the ages of 65 and 75 have diminished hearing. The NIDCD further estimates that about half of people 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss as well.
As it happens, those are the very people who already struggle financially because they usually live on fixed incomes.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from all corners of the country showing how the current poor economy is forcing many seniors to cut on health care. Not only do they not refill the prescriptions, split pills and skip doctor's visits, but they also make do without hearing aids.
As sad as it is, it's unfortunately true.
While the winds of change are sweeping Washington and one of President-elect Barack Obama's platforms is the reform of our heath care system, what exactly this means in terms of the affordability of hearing aids is not clear.
Given the notoriously fickle nature of political promises, it is difficult to make a firm diagnosis about the future state of the nation's health care - or your hearing. However, one may ask since the Democrats are now in control in the White House, as well as in the House and Senate, is there at least hope that these issues will remain on the Capitol Hill's front burner for at least four yearsr
Good news is that as a citizen and taxpayer, there is one thing you can - and should - do:
Make your voice heard
As the 111th Congress is gaveled in on January 6, 2009, make sure your representatives in Washington know of the issues impacting your life and health.
One of those should be your support for the bipartisan Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act, which, if passed, would help millions of Americans who need hearing aids but cannot afford them.
Howr By offering a tax credit of up to $500 per ear to cover costs of hearing aids that are not covered by insurance. This credit, $1000 for two hearing aids, could be used once every five years by parents of a deaf or hard of hearing dependent child or by individuals over 55.
Since its introduction in May 2007, this Act has received many endorsements in both the House and Senate, and has the support of all the major hearing health organizations and advocacy groups in the United States.
You too can make your voice heard by contacting your representatives through this website: http://www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org/ According to Better Hearing Institute which sponsors this website together with the Hearing Aid Industry Association, more than 18,000 people have already used this site in 2008 to contact their legislators.
We can help you to be HAPPYTM!
Healthy Hearing has developed one of the most comprehensive funding guides, which provides financial assistance resources for not only hearing aids but also for cochlear implants.
This guide is accessible upon completion of the "Hearing Aid Personalized Profile for You", also known as the HAPPYTM. Not only will this personalize profile provide you information on funding resources, it will provide you a comprehensive action plan specifically for your hearing loss. It's simple, confidential and free! So with a simple click of your mouse, Get HAPPYTM!
There's nothing you can do about the state of economy or health care, we have placed that hope in our new government which is forming as we speak. But there's no time like the present to become proactive about your hearing.