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ASHA Supports Upcoming Legislation To Provide Tax Credits For Seniors And Dependents To Purchase Hearing Aids

Rockville, Maryland, May 16, 2007---The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) congratulates Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) for reintroducing The Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act (H.R. 2329) during Hearing on the Hill, a yearly event that celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month.

H.R. 2329 will provide a tax credit, once every five years, of up to $500 toward the purchase of a hearing aid. The tax credit will be available to individuals age 55 or older and dependents of taxpayers.

ASHA has been actively advocating for this bill, asserts Dr. Noma Anderson, ASHA President. Financial constraints are cited as a core reason many Americans do not use hearing aids. Hearing aids are currently not covered under Medicare, or under the vast majority of state mandated benefits. This bill will help those affected come closer to being able to purchase these much-needed devices.

Ten million older Americans have age-related hearing loss. A study by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) shows that left untreated, hearing loss often results in distorted communication, isolation, withdrawal, depression, anger, severely reduced overall psychological health, in addition to an average loss of income per household of up to $12,000 per year.

Furthermore, this bill will help children, a group that often goes undiagnosed. Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent birth defects in the United States, affecting two to three infants per 1,000 births. More than one million children under age 18 have hearing loss, according to the Better Hearing Institute. Children can be fitted with hearing aids soon after birth. For those who do not receive early intervention, overall lifetime costs for special education, lost wages, and health complications are close to $1 million each.

ASHA is a member of the Hearing Aid Tax Coalition, a group of organizations dedicated to hearing health and who are actively advocating for this bill.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 127,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems.

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