Thank you EPIC Hearing Healthcare for sponsoring this conversation about hearing loss and hearing aids but as always, my opinion is mine.
I've always taken my hearing for granted. The ability to hear my favorite song, listen to a movie while I work on my blog, hearing the birds outside and my daughter giggle are just every day bits of my life that I just don't think twice about it.
Emma has undergone numerous hearing tests due to her traumatic brain injury. She ALWAYS fails school hearing tests, then fails the booth tests and then would have to have an ABR (auditory brainstem response test) and would finally pass. The ABR tests her hearing at the brainstem while the person is asleep. For Em, it's just her inability to truly understand the instructions of the test, her difficulty focusing and her slow response that causes her to fail. Thankfully, her hearing health is fine but...
What if you found your hearing was decreasing?
What would you do?
Would you go to your doctor?
Would you just ignore it and keep cranking up the volume?
I worked in billing, contracting and credentialing for an audiology practice and it truly opened my eyes at how under-served hearing is. I was absolutely shocked by how few group health plans (company sponsored insurance) actually cover hearing services let alone hearing aids or if they do, it's a VERY small benefit. Hearing aids are NOT inexpensive. The average cost of a SINGLE hearing aid can range from $1,500 to $5,000.
We would see patients who have been dealing with hearing loss after working in loud industries for many, many years. Some would come in after YEARS of hearing loss. The looks on some of their faces after being fitted with hearing aids were priceless. Some would start crying because they could hear clearly for the first time in years. There was nothing worse than having to tell them that their health plan didn't cover hearing aids or if they did, they only covered $850 TOTAL and they would have to be responsible for the price difference. They would express hopelessness at trying to come up with the money to pay for them. For many, their families would have fundraisers, apply for credit or just pass on the hearing aids because the cost was out of reach.
Anything can happen to our hearing health and I highly recommend reaching out to the HR department at your company to find out if your health insurance covers visits to an audiologist for a complete diagnostic evaluation (at least every two years for adults and annually for children) and if hearing aids are covered.
If hearing health is NOT a covered benefit for you, take a stand and request a change. EPIC Hearing Healthcare has created an advocacy flyer that anyone can just share to start a conversation with their HR professional. Download it at: EpicHearing.com