Jerry Ruzicka, President of Starkey Laboratories, Inc., and Brandon Sawalich, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, participated in the 2009 Hearing on the Hill in Washington, DC, on May 12 and 13 alongside several other hearing industry leaders. The initiative was created to increase visibility and support for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill making its way through Congress.
The events included congressional meetings and hearing screenings. The hearing screenings walked numerous senators, representatives and congressional staff through the process patients go through when visiting a hearing care professional to help them better understand the experience.
"There are more than 31.5 million people who suffer from hearing loss in the U.S. and providing financial assistance for those who need hearing aids has gone unaddressed for far too long," said Ruzicka. "Untreated hearing loss affects everything from sociability to earning potential. As an industry, we believe that a tax credit for hearing aid purchases is the best way to improve access to the technology people need."
A bipartisan group including Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Representative Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), along with a large number of cosponsors, reintroduced Hearing Tax Credit (H.R. 1646) in March. With a companion bill, S1019, introduced in the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), these bills would provide assistance to many people who suffer from hearing loss. Hearing on the Hill is sponsored by the Hearing Industries Association, a non-profit trade association for the hearing aid industry.
Starkey, along with other organizations supporting this cause, are asking people to visit hearingaidtaxcredit.org to contact their Congresspersons today in support of the bill.
In addition to its strong support of Hearing on the Hill, Starkey has implemented several initiatives to help build awareness for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit. Over the past year, Starkey has added literature within its hearing aid packaging urging patients to contact their state representatives and has included messaging on its professional website (StarkeyPro.com) and patient website (Starkey.com). Starkey has also held numerous meetings with key government officials to emphasize the importance of the bill.