Access to Hearing Aids for Children in Massachusetts

In 1998, Massachusetts passed a law mandating hearing screening for all newborns. Once hearing loss is diagnosed and hearing aids are prescribed, however, parents or caregivers must pay out-of-pocket for hearing aids for their children, which cost upwards of $2,000 each and must be replaced every 3 to 5 years. Of the 80,000 births annually in Massachusetts, approximately 150 children will be diagnosed with hearing loss and prescribed hearing aids. Research has shown that early identification of hearing loss and amplification with hearing aids in children prior to 6 months of age yields significantly better receptive and expressive language and vocabulary, personal-social skills and speech production. Early amplification means long-term cost savings to the Commonwealth- money that would otherwise be spent on special education, social services and medical care- at a very low cost to private insurance. Access to hearing aids for the children who need them in Massachusetts remains inadequate due to their cost and the fact that most insurance companies specifically exclude hearing aids from coverage in their plans. We can change this, as 17 other states have, and close the gap between early identification of hearing loss and access to hearing aids for children. Please sign our petition, which will be sent to legislators at the State House in Boston!

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