Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Global Foundation for Children With Hearing Loss

Want to learn more about a great organization helping children with hearing loss. Check out this post by Paige Stringer at the HHTM blogs:

"I was born with a severe to profound hearing loss and rely on a pair of hearing aids to bring sound into my life. My work requires me to travel a great deal and I certainly can sleep very well anywhere in the world no matter how close the hotel room is to the elevator. That said, I am grateful that I can listen and talk. Hearing is fundamental to language. Language is what connects us to other people and is the foundation of everything we do in life."
"My hearing loss was identified when I was very young and I was provided with hearing aids and support services in the United States during the crucial early years of my development. This support enabled me to learn to communicate through spoken language and grow up to participate fully in our hearing society. It did not seem right to me that many children with hearing loss in other parts of the world would not have same opportunities in life simply because of where they are born. I founded the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss to help change that. The Global Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps children with hearing loss in developing and emerging countries access the hearing technology, educational support, and resources they need to reach their potential in our hearing world. Since 2010, the Global Foundation has been working to provide support to children with hearing loss in Vietnam."

Read the complete story at:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hearing Aid Tax Credit Legislation Reintroduced

Image Source: Wikipedia
Reps Tom Latham (R-IA) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) along with 8 other co-sponsors reintroduced the Hearing Aid Tax Credit on March 21, and they plan to work to insure that the legislation is considered during this Congress when major federal tax reform is likely. The bi-partisan bill (HR 1317) is similar to legislation considered in the past, although it would provide a tax benefit to people of all ages, whereas earlier bills were restricted to children and people 55 and older. HIA and HLAA members formed teams to meet with over 80 Senators, Representatives and staffers during Hearing on the Hill on Feb. 28 to support the reintroduction effort. Teams from ADA, ASHA and IHS also supported the effort by meeting with Congressional staff both during Hearing on the Hill and in early March.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Costs revisited: So what does it cost to add hearing aid coverage?

Several states have published research findings about the financial impact to insured residents as a result of offering hearing aid insurance benefits to children. A few cents today could not only help improve the lives of children with hearing loss, but has the potential to save local schools and tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here's just a few examples:

North Carolina: $0.03 per month increase in insurance premium on insured residents.

California: $0.03 per month average increase in health insurance premium increase

Wisconsin: $0.17 cents per privately insured person, per month for hearing aids and cochlear implants.

South Carolina: proposed legislation is estimated at $0.35 annually or approximately $0.03 per month increase in premiums.

Pay this today...                                                               ...or pay this later**:
**Children who do not receive early intervention cost schools an additional $420,000 and are faced with overall lifetime costs of $1 million in special education, lost wages, and health complications, according to a 1995 study published in the "International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology." The Department of Education indicates that over 70,000 students, ages 6-21, received special education services in 2002 alone, due to their hearing loss.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bloomberg tackles earbuds in NYC

New York City's mayor has already raised eyebrows with his crack downs on smoking, trans fats and most recently--the controversial ban on large sugary drinks. Now the mayor wants kids to "turn down the volume" on their iPods and music players. The mayor hopes a new social media campaign will help spread awareness of the risk for permanent hearing loss from listening to loud music.

Image source: Wikipedia
From the New York Post:
“With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players . . . and risks of loud and long listening,” said Nancy Clark, the city Health Department’s assistant commissioner of environmental-disease prevention.
The campaign, which will cost $250,000, is being financed through a grant received from the Fund for Public Health, the Health Department’s fund-raising arm.
The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will target teens and young adults, conducting focus-group interviews and using social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Bloomberg has had a bug about ear-splitting rackets since taking office at City Hall, making noise reduction one of his key quality-of-life initiatives. In 2005, he signed a law — “Operation Silent Night” — overhauling the noise code. It cracked down on jolting jackhammer sounds at construction sites and on music blaring out of clubs, helping “make New York quieter and more liveable.”
Read the full story:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Room for optimism, despite setback

We would first like to thank everyone that helped support efforts to pass HB 1356 this year and those who have helped bring light to this important issue. It is our belief that this bill may not have even been introduced into committee, had it not been for the persistence of our supporters. In fact, as a result of efforts to raise awareness of this bill, several different organizations now support the idea of insurance coverage for hearing aids, including the recent endorsement from the WA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Despite HB 1356 not progressing forward during this session, we have a lot of room to be optimistic about the future of this type of legislation. This year was particularly difficult, due recent (controversial) changes in our national healthcare system, so many lawmakers have feared even entertaining the idea of an "insurance mandate" this year. However, we know that providing coverage for hearing aids is not just another "insurance mandate", it's the right thing to do.

As we've said before: Good hearing is not a luxury, it's a necessity!