Hearing Aid Information



General Information

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive, MSC 2320
Bethesda, MD USA 20892-2320
www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/thebasics_hearingaid.asp Starkey Hearing Foundation
www.sotheworldmayhear.org/home/index.php


Financial Assistance

Adults:

Vocational Rehabilitation Services - May provide hearing aids and assistive devices for qualifying adults who want to maintain current employment or who are seeking employment. The number of the Central Office in Austin is: 512/ 424-4060. Ask to be referred office nearest you or look in blue or yellow pages under state agencies.

Veteran's Administrative - veterans who have at least a 10% service-connected disability (any disability, not just hearing loss) the VA can provide hearing aids and other assistive devices.

Active Duty Family Members (ADFM): - ADFM who meet specific hearing-loss requirements, will be eligible to receive hearing aids including services and supplies as a TRICARE benefit. This benefit is extended to ADFM as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2002. Previously, hearing aids and services were only available to those beneficiaries who were in the Program for Persons with Disabilities (PFPWD).

The FY 2002 NDAA provision allows for coverage of a hearing aid to ADFMs diagnosed with a "profound" hearing loss. With the assistance of service physicians and audiologists from both the Department of the Defense and Veterans Affairs, TRICARE established separate hearing-level thresholds for adults and children.

The criteria for an adult ADFM to qualify for hearing aids and services are:

  • 40 decibel (dB) hearing loss (HL) or greater in one or both ears when tested at one of the following frequencies; 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000Hz; or

  • 26dB HL or greater in one or both ears at any three or more of those frequencies (mentioned previously); or

  • A speech recognition score less than 94 percent


The criterion for children of active duty service members to qualify for hearing aids and services is:

  • 26dB HL or greater hearing threshold level in one or both ears when tested in one of the following frequency ranges; 500, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000Hz Eligible TRICARE beneficiaries will receive all medically necessary and appropriate services and supplies, including hearing examinations administered by authorized providers that are required in connection with this benefit


Eligible beneficiaries who suspect that they or a family member may have a hearing loss should schedule an appointment with their primary care manager (PCM) for an initial examination. The PCM will then refer the beneficiary to an audiologist for any necessary tests.

For more information, beneficiaries may visit the TRICARE Web site at www.tricare.osd.mil or call the TRICARE Regional Office (TRO) North (1-877-874-2273), TRO South (1-800-444-5445), or TRO West (1-888-874-9378). Overseas beneficiaries may call 1-888-777-8343.

Children:

For children birth to 21 who are on Medicaid: www.tmhp.com/Pages/Topics/PACT.aspx

Miracle Ear Children's Foundation - (800) 234-5422 for children 16 years old and younger. A family of 4 limited to gross income of $20,000-$45,000. Must be an U.S. citizen and have a current audiogram and medical release.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - www.texcarepartnership.com (800) 647-6558. Families can qualify if they earn up to 200% of poverty level, but must re-apply every 6 months.

Schools may be responsible under IDEA. Contact Randi Turner here at DHHS to learn more about this option.

Senior Citizens:

Check with your nearest Area Agency on Aging office - go to www.tdoa.state.tx.us and then click on "services and resources" for the AAA nearest you. The main number is (888) 622-9111. A few of the local offices receive grants to help with hearing aid costs.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services has an Independent Living (IL) program, which may assist senior citizens who are not working and have a disability. There may be a long waiting list. The 9 IL counselors in the state:

Amarillo 806-353-7491
Houston 713-521-1119
Irving 972-254-9503
Austin 512-491-8583
El Paso 915-778-7714
Lubbock 806-747-1625
Ft. Worth 817-923-5080
McAllen 956-971-8655
San Antonio 210-650-0943

Persons of all ages:

Check with your local University Speech and Hearing Clinic - some may offer sliding scale fee and utilize graduate students to help keep costs down. Others may have a recycled hearing aid program.

Hear Now/Starkey Foundation - National program that will donate a new Starkey hearing aid IF the hearing aid dispenser donates their services. Client income is considered but also considers out-of-pocket medical expenses. There is a very detailed application process and a $100.00 per aid non-refundable application fee. The total household income is considered and not just the applicant's financial position. Call (800) 648-4327 and press 1 for application or go to www.sotheworldmayhear.org/forms/hearnow.php

Check your private health insurance coverage.

Payment Plan - need credit approval and must go to their list of providers. (877) 354-8337 and push ext. #1 for application.

* ESCO Help Card - need credit approval and must go to their list of providers. (800) 945-4357 or www.earserv.com

Check your local Lions, Kiwanis, Sertoma and other civic organizations to learn if there is a re-conditioned hearing aid (recycling) program in your community.

Assistive Listening Devices, as an alternative to a hearing aid, retail from $100 to $180. These look like a 'walkman' radio. The person with hearing impairment wears headphones or an earbud and the person speaking uses a microphone. These are appropriate for one on one situations where the speaker is near the listener. They are also great for noisy situations. For more information, contact:

1) Audex at (800) 237-0716 and ask about their "Sound Director" System
2) Williams Sound Company (800) 843-3544 makes a "Pocket Talker"
3) Hitec makes the "Sound Wizard", (800) 288-8303



For possible local resources, or other help related to hearing loss, contact the DHHS Specialist in your area. To locate your DHHS Specialist contractor, go to www.dars.state.tx.us/dhhs/providers/contractors.asp. You can then click to view a regional map and for the contact information. You can also call (512) 407-3250 to ask for the nearest contractor.