October 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC — The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) and the Hearing Loss Association of America-Maryland affiliate honored US Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District for his support of a Hearing Aid Tax Credit (HR2329 / S1410).

Approximately 100 members of both organizations attended a dinner on Capitol Hill honoring the congressman for his support of the legislation. The bill has 57 co-sponsors in the House and 7 co-sponsors in the Senate. The bill provides a tax credit of $500 toward the purchase of each hearing aid once every 5 years for dependents and individuals over age 55.

The program featured testimonials by members of AG Bell and HLAA who described the importance of hearing aids to their daily lives and the financial problems caused by the lack of financial assistance. Meredith Isola, an AG Bell member, described the importance of hearing aids to enable her young son to develop normally; Jenny Cheng, a past HLAA intern with progressive hearing loss, praised advances in hearing aid technology while expressing frustration with the cost of treatment; and Lise Hamlin, an HLAA member, focused on how hearing aids have enabled her to continue to work and lead a productive life. Hearing aid wearer Malika Jalloh-Jamboria, the daughter of an AG Bell member, recited the Pledge of Allegiance to open the program.

Rep Van Hollen addressed the crowd and emphasized the importance of increasing the number of co-sponsorships with a focus on Ways and Means members. He encouraged all attendees to contact friends and family members in other congressional districts to ask them to contact their Representatives and Senators. He also referred to his grandfather who had a hearing loss that was caused while serving in the World War I. Brenda Battat with HLAA and Alex Graham with AG Bell introduced the program and speakers, and Andy Bopp with the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) presented Rep Van Hollen with the group’s token of thanks for making the presentation. 

“I want to stress the importance of reaching out to your friends, associates and colleagues around the country and getting them to talk to [their] members of congress about this legislation,” Van Hollen says.

In a press release issued prior to the event, AG Bell President Karen Youdelman said, “AG Bell is very supportive of efforts to provide the tools needed for families who choose to use spoken language as an option for their deaf or hard of hearing child. Hearing aids are essential to this end and we applaud Rep Van Hollen spearheading this effort.”

To find out how you can support the Hearing Aid Tax Credit, click here.