On January 5th, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reintroduced the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill (S. 48) in the US Senate. Similar versions of the bill have been introduced in the past several sessions of Congress, with broad support from hearing professionals and consumer advocates, but the measure has never been enacted.
Good News! The Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act is getting a lot of support.
A recent announcement from the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) said the Hearing Aid Tax Credit is actively supported by several hearing health organizations, including the Alexander Graham Bell Assn for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), Hearing Loss Assn of America (HLAA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), American Speech Language Hearing Assn (ASHA), International Hearing Society (IHS) as well as Hearing Industries Association (HIA).
What would the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act do?
Offering assistance to many of the 36 million people who need hearing aids to address their hearing loss, the Hearing Aid Tax Credit would provide a non-refundable $500 tax credit for the purchase of a hearing aid, or $1,000 if two are needed, once every five years. The House bill includes a $200,000/year income eligibility cap.
Why is this special tax treatment important for hearing aid purchases?
- While 95% of individuals with hearing loss could be successfully treated with hearing aids, only about 30% of the 33 million Americans with hearing loss (9 million people) used them in 2015 according to the ‘MarkeTrak’ report, the largest national consumer survey on hearing loss.
- Hearing aids are not covered under Medicare, or under the vast majority of state mandated benefits. In fact, 48% of hearing aid purchases involve no third party payment according to the MarkeTrak report. This places the entire burden of the purchase on the consumer.
- 33% of individuals with hearing loss have incomes of less than $30,000 per year according to the Better Hearing Institute, and household incomes of individuals with untreated hearing loss are usually much lower than their non hearing impaired counterparts.
- 68% of those with hearing loss cite financial constraints as a core reason they do not use hearing aids.
- Consumer Reports recommends that people with hearing loss spend between $500 and $3,000 per hearing aid depending on the level of technology and features with all essential professional services included.
Hearing loss is among the most prevalent birth defects in America, affecting 3 infants per 1,000 births. 1.2 million children under 18 have a hearing loss. For adults, hearing loss usually occurs gradually, but increases dramatically with age. 10 million older Americans have age-related hearing loss. These are just a few of the reasons why the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act is so important. For more information about the bill, visit the hearing aid tax credit website. You can also send a letter to your Senators urging them to support this legislation.