There are two especially important pieces of pending legislation in congress now that are particularly relevant to both Audiology as a profession and all Americans with hearing loss. The proposed bills recognize the effect of hearing loss on our aging population and summarized their findings in the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2007. The following is pulled directly from the bill section 2.
“Congress finds the following:
(1) Approximately 30,000,000 Americans experience some degree of hearing loss and by 2030 that number is expected to increase to 78,000,000 Americans.
(2) Hearing impairment is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, with approximately 33 percent of Americans aged 60 years and over, and 40 to 50 percent of those aged 75 years and older, experiencing hearing loss.
(3) Hearing loss is a major barrier to participating in society, both economically and socially.
(4) Hearing loss among senior citizens, if left untreated, can result in isolation and depression.
(5) The Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to directly access audiologists and has reported that this policy, adopted in 1992, provides high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective hearing care.
(6) The Office of Personnel Management allows Federal employees and Members of Congress to directly access audiologists through the Federal Employees Health benefits Program.
(7) Audiologists are licensed in each State and the District of Columbia and the scope of services furnished by audiologists is determined by each such jurisdiction involved.
(8) Consistency in Federal policy with respect to hearing health care services should be encouraged to the greatest extent possible.”
Sec. 2 Findings
- You can review these bills through their links from this page or go to http://thomas.loc.gov/home/c110query.html and search by the bill numbers S. 1410 and H.R. 1665.
- To generate an automatic letter to print and send your congressman about these and other issues please see the American Academy of Audiology website and their “Take Action” page at http://capwiz.com/audiology/home/.
- Also, you can visit the Better Hearing Institute’s “Hearing Aid Tax Credit” webpage at http://www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org/