Washington, DC, January 29, 2015 — Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today reintroduced the bipartisan Hearing Aid Tax Credit (S. 315) which would provide a $500 credit to people who need a hearing aid. The bill is unchanged from legislation in the 113th Congress which was championed by Senators Heller and Tom Harkin of Iowa, now retired. Senator Heller is a member of the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation including the HATC.
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit would provide assistance to many of the 36 million people who need hearing aids to address their hearing loss. Medicare expressly excludes coverage of hearing aids as do most private insurance policies, and as a result, cost is cited as a prohibitive factor by two thirds of the people who do not treat their hearing loss. If enacted, S. 315 would provide a $500 tax credit per hearing aid for people of all ages, or $1,000 if two hearing aids are needed as is usually the case. That would be a critical assist since 61% of all hearing aid purchases involve no third party payment of any kind.
HIA’s Chairman, Todd Murray, points out that “hearing aids can help 95% of people with hearing loss, and failure to take action can have significant implications for individuals as well as society as a whole.” He notes that studies have indicated that a link exists between untreated hearing loss and dementia, as well as other conditions such as depression and the risk of falling. Murray adds that “the lack of financial assistance should not be a barrier to hearing aid adoption.”
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit is actively supported as a way to provide some assistance by 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).
HIA Chairman Murray notes that “hearing loss is an issue that affects millions of people, and this legislation could have a great impact on their ability to afford hearing aid treatment - we are thrilled that Senators Heller and Klobuchar are championing this bill.” HIA, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the national trade association of manufacturers of hearing aids, implantable hearing devices, assistive listening devices, component parts and power sources for amplification devices. Visit www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org for information about the bill and to send a letter to your Senators urging them to support this legislation.