A long-awaited report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine today issued its recommendations, which included sweeping changes in the way older Americans get hearing health care.
The Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults made 12 specific recommendations. You can read a summary of the report here. The full report — “Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability” —
is available from the National Academies Press on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu or by calling 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242.
Noting that hearing loss is “a significant public health concern,” with hearing aids widely underused among the elderly, the committee recommended a number of changes that would benefit consumers and increase the prevalence of hearing aid use.
Among the recommendations are cheaper hearing aids, over the counter-hearing-aids, insurance coverage for hearing aids, greater transparency in the pricing of hearing aids, changing the standards for hearing aid programming so that any health care professional (not just the one you bought the aid from) can program device settings. The report noted the need for prevention, especially from noise. And it noted the need for access under the ADA.
The Hearing Loss Association of America issued the following press release: HLAA Strongly Supports Groundbreaking New Report That Could Change Hearing Health Care.
The committee included Brenda Battat, the former executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and Dr. Frank Lin, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America, on leave for the year’s duration of this committee.
I’ll write more about this report over the coming weeks.
Katherine Bouton is the author of “Living Better With Hearing Loss: A Guide to Health, Happiness, Love, Sex, Work, Friends … and Hearing Aids,” and a memoir, “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 5o Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You”. Both available on Amazon.com.