Hearing management

03 June 2016

Seniors should have easier access to hearing aids

A US government advisory group is calling for changes to make treatment for hearing loss less cumbersome and expensive for older adults.

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Hearing loss is a growing public health problem that can leave older adults socially isolated and even increase the risk of dementia.

Now, a prestigious government advisory group is calling for changes to make getting treated less of a pricey hassle.

One proposal would allow some simple devices for mild hearing problems to be sold over the counter for people who can't afford or aren't ready to make the leap to full hearing aids.

Read: Hearing loss tied to cognitive decline

A new report says only a fraction of older adults who might benefit from hearing aids use them. One reason is the price — averaging about $4,700 (±R73,000) a pair.

Insurance coverage is limited. Medicare doesn't pay for them, just the diagnostic tests.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends making treatment more affordable and accessible.

Read more:

Symptoms of hearing loss

Types of hearing loss

Preventing hearing loss

 

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Hearing Expert

AuD degree obtained in 2013 at AT Still University Health Science Depart-ment, Arizona. Masters in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria, 2003. Remedial Teaching Diploma at Rand University, 1996. Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, 1993. Owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. Educating the community regarding early identification of hearing problems and screening of new-borns. Providing assistance and services at retirement homes. Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. External examiner at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. Presenter at conferences and seminars.

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