Resources and Financial Help for Buying a Hearing Aid

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Good hearing aids are not cheap. And they are generally not covered by Medicare or by most health insurance plans/policies. Here are some guidelines as to what you might expect as well as possible resources if you need financial assistance.

  • Insurance policy. If you have medical insurance, check your policy to see if you have benefits that will cover part of the cost of a hearing aid.

  • Medicare. Medicare will cover a diagnostic hearing evaluation in some cases. Medicare will cover a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) if other coverage policies are met.

  • Coverage for children. For eligible children and young adults ages 21 and under, Medicaid will pay for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, including hearing aids. Children may be covered by their state's early intervention program or State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Children with hearing loss may be able to receive assistive technology at no cost if their Individualized Education Program(IEP), specifies that they need the assistive technology, such as hearing aids or FM systems, in order to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

  • Medicaid. In some states, people with very low income may qualify for hearing aids through Medicaid. People with higher income may temporarily qualify for assistance with medical expenses, including hearing aids, through the county social service agency's "medically needy program." Look in the Government section of the telephone book under County Social Services, and request an appointment to determine your eligibility for Medicaid.
  1. Prospective and current college students and other people of working age may qualify for financial assistance for hearing aids, assistive technology, and other rehabilitative services from state vocational rehabilitation agencies (look under State in the Government section of the local telephone book). If you are working but concerned you may lose your job because of your hearing loss, you may be eligible for services on that basis.

  2. Veterans of military service may qualify for assistance with hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and other rehabilitative services. Contact the medical facility for the appropriate branch of the military.

  3. State telephone equipment programs can be found via http://www.tedpa.org. These programs vary quite widely in what they provide and what their eligibility requirements are, but some provide free or low-cost telephone equipment to eligible residents.

  4. Local agencies serving deaf and/or hard of hearing people may also know about local hearing aid banks and other resources, such as clinics that provide services on a sliding scale basis according to income, state assistive technology loan programs, and state financial assistance programs for children with disabilities.

  5. In many situations, organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and employers are required by federal or state law to provide auxiliary aids and services for communication access (but not hearing aids). Some of these situations are: employers with 15 or more employees, hotels, hospitals, senior centers and residential facilities. If you are inquiring about communication assistance in one of these situations, call the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center at (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY) for more information.

The following are national or regional resources for assistance:

National

AUDIENT Program 1-877-283-4368
V/TTY 206-838-7194
CareCredit 1-800-677-0718
Colorado Neurological Institute 303-788-4010
Easter Seals 1-800-221-6827
TTY 312-726-4258
Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation 626-398-8840
Hear Now 800-648-4327
HELPcard 1-800-992-3726
Hike Fund, Inc.
(Up to age 20)
 
League for the Hard of Hearing 917-305-7700
TTY 917-305-7999
Miracle Ear Children's Foundation
(Geared toward children under 16)
800-234-5422
National Association of the Deaf 301-587-1788
TTY 301-587-1789
Quota International 202-331-9694
Sertoma International 816-333-8300
Starkey Sound Choice 1-800-328-8602
Travelers Protective Association of America 314-371-0533
TRICARE — U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System 1-877-874-2273

Regional

Alexander Graham Bell Association For The Deaf, Inc.
(Geared toward children)
202-337-5220
TTY: 202-337-5221
Alpha One (Independent Living Center) 1-800-640-7200
V/TTY 767-2189
Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority (ATLFA) 1-866-835-5976
V/TTY 804-662-9000
Auditory Verbal Learning Institute
(Geared toward children)
 
Bill Daniels Center for Children's Hearing
(Geared toward children)
720-777-1234
Central Oklahoma Association for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired V/TTY 405-842-0806
Colorado Center for Hearing, Speech and Language 303-322-1871
Crippled Child Relief, Inc. 763-550-0176
Disabled Children's Relief Fund
(Geared toward children)
 
Disaster Assistance  
Dorothy Ames Trust Fund
(Geared toward children)
1-866-238-8650
1-518-257-9662
EAR Foundation V/TDD 1-800-545-4327
V/TDD 615-627-2724
Easter Seals Oklahoma City
(Up to age 21)
405-239-2525
Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California 415-921-7658
TTY 415-921-8990
Heart Springs — Kansas 1-800-835-1043
V/TDD 316-634-8750
Holley Ear Institute 313-343-3165
TTY 313-343-8789
House Ear Institute
(Geared toward children)
213-483-4431
TTY 213-483- 2642
Howard & Espa Michaud Charitable Trust
(Geared toward children)
TTY 1-800-606-0215
207-493-4132
John Tracy Clinic
(Geared toward children)
213-748-5481
Kin Canada Foundation

(Canadian residents)
1-800-742-5546
Kiwanis Clubs 800-549-2647
Knights of Columbus 203-752-4000
Let Them Hear Foundation 650-462-3143
925-830-9116
Lions Club International 630-571-5466 ext. 615
Masonic Organizations  
MEDICAID and SCHIP Programs  
Minnesota State Assistance Programs  
National Technical Institute for the Deaf Scholarship Listings  
National Tourism Association Scholarship
(College students)
800-682-8886
Optimists Clubs 800-500-8130
State Alternative Financing Programs  
The Dr. Ann Stadelmaier Hearing Aid Fund 716-833-4488
External Source

Better Hearing Institute. Resources. Accessed March 2008. Available at:
http://www.betterhearing.org/resources/resource.cfm?resourceID=17

Author: Dr. Tomi Browne

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