Hearing aids for as many as 10 million Americans living with untreated hearing loss could soon become a reality if Congress acts, says Stephen Hansbrough, CEO of HearUSA, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Hansbrough is urging passage of tax credit legislation currently being considered by the House and the Senate that would make hearing aids significantly more affordable.
Although almost all of the 36 million Americans with hearing loss could be helped by hearing aids, only nine million currently use them, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) reports, citing affordability as the prime reason most go without hearing care and noting that 70% of all hearing aid purchases are not supported by insurance.
“Hearing loss is a critical quality of life and health issue and we are committed to seeing hearing care recognized as a medical necessity," says Hansbrough. “HearUSA is supportive of measures that make hearing care more affordable and accessible and that increase public awareness of the scope and impact of hearing loss.”
He said that 10 million of the 27 million Americans with untreated hearing loss would be likely to purchase hearing aids if $500 tax credits were available, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the BHI.
Both the Senate (S 109) and House (HR 1646) Hearing Aid Tax Credit Acts provide for a tax credit of up to $500 for each hearing aid once every 5 years. The House measure would apply to taxpayers 55 or older and for those purchasing hearing aids for a dependent, while the Senate version would have no age restriction.
Hansbrough said the hearing aid tax credit is supported by leading health care and advocacy organizations, including the BHI, the Hearing Loss Association of America, the American Academy of Audiology, and AARP.
To learn more about the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bills, visit http://www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org/.
HearUSA is the administrator of the AARP Hearing Care program, designed to help millions of Americans aged 50-plus who have untreated hearing loss.