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Beginning Sept. 1, Active-duty Family Members Could Be Eligible to Receive Hearing Aids

(I-Newswire) - This benefit is extended to family members as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2002. Previously, hearing aids and services were only available to those beneficiaries who were in the Program for Persons with Disabilities.

The fiscal 2002 NDAA provision allows for coverage of a hearing aid to family members diagnosed with a profound hearing loss. With the assistance of service physicians and audiologists from the Department of the Defense and Veterans Affairs, Tricare officials established separate hearing-level thresholds for adults and children.

The criteria for an adult active-duty family member to qualify for hearing aids and services are:

  • At least 40 decibel hearing loss in one or both ears when tested at one of the following frequencies: 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 hertz ( cycles per second ).
  • At least 26 decibel hearing loss in one or both ears at any three or more of the mentioned frequencies.
  • A speech recognition score of less than 94 percent.

For children of active-duty service members to qualify, they must have at least 26 decibel hearing loss threshold level in one or both ears when tested in one of the following frequency ranges: 500, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 hertz ( cycle per second ).

Eligible Tricare beneficiaries will receive all medically necessary and appropriate services and supplies, including hearing examinations administered by authorized providers that are required in connection with this benefit

Eligible beneficiaries who suspect that they or a family member may have a hearing loss should schedule an appointment with their primary care manager for an initial examination. The PCM will then refer the beneficiary to an audiologist for any necessary tests.

For more information, beneficiaries may visit the Tricare Web site online at www.tricare.osd.mil or call the Tricare Regional Office North at ( 877 ) 874-2273; TRO South at ( 800 ) 444-5445; or TRO West at ( 888 ) 874-9378. Overseas beneficiaries may call ( 888 ) 777-8343. ( Courtesy of Tricare Management Activity )

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