Now Hear This!Posted by Medicare Made Clear
This time of the year can be filled with festive gatherings. But some settings can get loud and make it hard for people who have trouble hearing. Some people with hearing loss start to avoid social situations. But isolation may lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
There can be many reasons for hearing loss. It’s possible for parents to pass it on to their children. Other causes may include:
- Loud noises.
- Head injuries.
- Ear infections.
- Certain medications.
People with mild to moderate hearing loss are least likely to use hearing aids.1 Some of their reasons include concerns about looking old, and the cost. Many insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, do not cover the cost of hearing aids, fittings or screening tests.
The exception is when your doctor thinks your hearing loss may be due to a recent injury or illness. Under those circumstances, your doctor’s order for hearing tests may be covered by Medicare. Your deductible and copay may apply.
Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer coverage for hearing aids and screening tests. Insurance plan coverage for hearing aids varies. Review your Summary of Benefits and Coverage to find out if you are covered. If you are covered, you may have to follow certain rules, or buy from approved suppliers.
In some cases, Medicaid, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or state programs may offer financial assistance or reduced cost hearing aids.
If you or a loved one has trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor. Hearing loss is not just inconvenient; it’s a serious health condition. Older adults with hearing loss are five times more likely to get dementia than people with normal hearing.2
Life is full of beautiful sounds like church bells and children’s laughter. Make sure you don’t miss a minute of it. Better hearing may lead to a better life!
For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
1. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2013
2. Archive of Neurology, Feb 2011
State Benefits Guide: Learn how to apply for your state’s financial assistance programs.
Medicare.gov: Read about Medicare Part B coverage for hearing aids and diagnostic tests
NIDCD: The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders