Jerry Ruzicka, president of Starkey Laboratories Inc, Eden Prairie, Minn, and Brandon Sawalich, the company’s VP of sales and marketing, participated in the recent 2009 Hearing on the Hill in Washington alongside other hearing industry leaders. The initiative was created to increase visibility and support for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill making its way through Congress.
Congressional meetings and hearing screenings were among the events. Hearing on the Hill is sponsored by the Hearing Industries Association, a nonprofit trade association for the hearing aid industry.
The screenings walked senators, representatives, and congressional staff members through the process patients experience when visiting a hearing care professional, to help them understand the process.
“There are more than 31.5 million people who suffer from hearing loss in the US and providing financial assistance for those who need hearing aids has gone unaddressed for far too long,” said Ruzicka. “Untreated hearing loss affects everything from sociability to earning potential. As an industry, we believe that a tax credit for hearing aid purchases is the best way to improve access to the technology people need.”
A bipartisan group, including Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Vern Ehlers (R-Mich), and a large number of cosponsors, reintroduced Hearing Tax Credit (HR 1646) in March. A companion bill, S1019, was introduced in the Senate by Sen Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
Starkey and other organizations supporting the cause are urging people to visit hearingaidtaxcredit.org to contact their Congressional representatives in support of the bill.
Over the past year, Starkey has added literature within its hearing aid packaging urging patients to contact their state representatives and has included messaging on its professional Web site and patient Web site. Starkey officials have also held numerous meetings with key government officials to emphasize the importance of the bill, according to the company.