On January 29, 2015, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced the Hearing Aid Tax Credit (S 315), which would provide a $500 credit to people who need a hearing aid. The bipartisan bill is unchanged from legislation in the 113th Congress, as previously announced in a November 18, 2013 Hearing Review article, when it was championed by Senators Heller and Tom Harkin of Iowa who has since retired. Senator Heller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation including the HATC.
As explained in a recent announcement from the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), the Hearing Aid Tax Credit would provide assistance to many of the 36 million people who need hearing aids to address their hearing loss. Medicare and most private insurance policies expressly exclude coverage of hearing aids, and as a result, cost is cited as a prohibitive factor by two-thirds of the people who do not treat their hearing loss. If enacted, S 315 would provide a $500 tax credit per hearing aid for people of all ages, or $1,000 if two hearing aids are needed. This assistance would be critical, since 61% of all hearing aid purchases involve no third-party payment.
Todd Murray, chairman of HIA and president of GN Hearing Care North America, points out that studies indicate a link exists between untreated hearing loss and dementia, as well as other conditions such as depression and the risk of falling. Murray believes that a lack of financial assistance should not be a barrier to hearing aid adoption. The HIA announcement also said the Hearing Aid Tax Credit is actively supported by hearing health organizations, including the Alexander Graham Bell Assn for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), Hearing Loss Assn of America (HLAA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), American Speech Language Hearing Assn (ASHA), International Hearing Society (IHS) as well as Hearing Industries Association (HIA).
For more information about the bill, please visit the Hearing Aid Tax Credit website.