Consumer Mojo: Medicare Should Cover Hearing Aids

Hearing loss is one of the most misunderstood disabilities, and because it is invisible, it is frequently overlooked, neglected and forgotten. Many assume it doesn’t require any special attention or services even though it interferes with virtually every aspect of a person’s life.
I think most people find it shocking when they learn hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or by most insurance policies.

This is particularly disturbing because of the huge number of people who suffer from hearing loss. A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggests that 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. Many cannot afford to buy hearing aids.
The negative impact is significant.

Hearing aids help people to function better in all aspects of their lives. They allow you to get and keep a job. People with severe hearing loss who didn’t have hearing aids had unemployment rates of 15.6 percent, or double that of the general population (7.8 percent), according to the Johns Hopkins study.

Hearing aids also prevent communication issues and isolation. A person who cannot hear has difficulty communicating and understanding what’s going on. A growing body of research shows that untreated hearing loss in older adults can lead to cognitive decline, isolation, depression and possibly even dementia

Social situations are particularly difficult for many people with hearing loss. When they cannot hear well enough to understand a conversation, or listen to a TV show or other entertainment, they resort to bluffing and withdrawal.

Having access to hearing aids enables people with hearing loss to participate fully in life.