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U.S. Legislators Join Call for Medicare to Cover Hearing Aids

Three congressmen have joined senior advocacy groups in calling for Medicare to cover hearing aids and other audiology services, backed by research that says impaired hearing can socially isolate seniors and may contribute to their risk of developing dementia. Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Jim McDermott of Washington state and Debbie Dingell of Michigan have separately proposed legislation to remove the specific exclusion of hearing aids from the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act. Some bills include vision and dental coverage as well. No estimate of the potential cost was given. While the bills’ futures in a Republican-controlled Congress may be uncertain, supporters point to research showing the health dangers and costs of untreated hearing loss. Frank R. Lin, an ear, nose and throat research specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, co-authored a study that concluded hearing loss, affecting an estimated 30 million people in the U.S., “must be recognized as a public health concern.” Dr. Lin said because diminished hearing is part of the normal process of aging, it is often seen as inevitable and even inconsequential. But, in addition to cognitive decline, poor hearing increases the risks of falls and other health hazards. Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, noted hearing-impaired seniors may not hear an approaching car, a ringing phone, or an alarm alerting them to danger. They also may not clearly hear their doctor’s instructions for taking medications.

Source/more: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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