I remember the day that my daughter was born. It was super exciting to be her mommy but during a routine hearing screening we discovered that she was having a hard time hearing. At this point the hospital wanted us to come back in two weeks for another hearing screening. The next two weeks went by fairly quickly and we returned to the hospital for a repeat hearing screening. Once again, my daughter failed the hearing screening. This was just the beginning of many doctor’s appointments, hearing tests, and even surgeries that would soon follow so that my daughter had the opportunity to hear.
Finding Out My Daughter had a Hearing Loss
My daughter was sent to the children’s hospital for another type of hearing test called an audio brainstem response (ABR) hearing test. This test allows audiologists to gather information about the inner ear (cochlea) and brain pathways for hearing. This type of test is generally used on babies and children who struggle with doing a regular hearing test. I remember that the initial test showed that she had a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears. They did do a series of tests just to confirm that she was really hearing impaired. I was very thankful that my insurance covered all of this testing. But not all insurance companies are the same especially when it comes to getting hearing aids or cochlear implants.
I am thankful that my daughter was covered through Tricare (military medical insurance) so we haven’t had to deal with any issues with getting the services that we needed for my daughter, especially, when we decided to get her second cochlear implant a few years ago. You can read about it here.
Get Routine Hearing Screenings
Children and adults should get regular hearing tests every few years. I know that my both of children’s pediatrician conducts routine hearing screenings during their well child check starting around age 4. If your child’s doctor or health care provider, isn’t conducting routine hearing screenings at your child’s well visit or physical it is important that you ask for it or have the school nurse check your child. Children don’t always speak up and complain if they can’t hear very well, especially, if they only have a mild hearing loss.
Health insurance is constantly changing and things were supposed to improve once Obama Care was put in place. I remember when my husband’s company presented him with the health insurance plans, they didn’t explain coverage about hearing screenings, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and any other equipment that might be needed to maintain the equipment such as batteries, replacement items, ect. Unless you have experienced a hearing loss in your immediate family, you probably have no clue if your medical insurance company would even cover the costs.
Will Your Insurance Policy Cover a Hearing Loss?
The goal of today’s post is to educate you about the real cost of a hearing loss and inform you so that you can speak to your company’s human resource department to advocate for adding hearing loss coverage to your company’s insurance plan. Most companies won’t allow you to add coverage to someone who has already experienced the hearing loss before a plan was added.
Cost of Hearing Aids (Not Including Several Visits with the Audiologist)
Did you know that hearing aids can easily cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000, possibly even more, depending on what your doctor orders for your hearing loss? My daughter wore hearing aids (<—you can read about it here) briefly but they didn’t even provide her any benefit other than annoying her. So if hearing aids don’t workout, then you could easily be out several thousands dollars. Cochlear implants are designed for patients who have a moderate to severe hearing loss.
Take a Stand Today
Would your current insurance policy even cover visits to the audiologist that are needed to determine the extent of your hearing loss? How would you handle paying for the cost of getting hearing aids or cochlear implants? Also, if you or your child had to get cochlear implants, would your current policy cover the surgery? These are questions that you should be asking the HR representative especially before open enrollment.
If hearing health is NOT a covered benefit for you and your family. Choose to take a stand and request a change in your current or future health care policy. EPIC has created an advocacy flyer that anyone can just share to start a conversation with their HR professional. Download the flyer for free at: http://www.epichearing.com/listenhear/resources. Then take the flyer to the HR representative so that they can lobby for the insurance changes before its too late.
Protect Your Child’s Ears Today
We often take our hearing for granted especially children. Today’s teenagers are often listing to loud music in their cars or choosing to listen to music using headphones on a regular basis. According to Dr Foy, most teenagers are listening to music that is way too loud with decibels reaching over 120 (equivalent to a rock concert). At this level, it only takes roughly an hour and 15 minutes to cause a hearing loss. It is important for parents to teach their children to turn down their headphones or even listen to music using regular speakers instead of headphones on a regular basis. This will protect them from causing a hearing loss.
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