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benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the
information provided on externally linked pages.
Where can I find general information on hearing
American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)
Laurent Clerc: National Deaf
Education Center (LC)
National Institute on Deafness and Other
Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
(PDF, 37 KB) on Hearing Aid Dealers
How do I know if my insurance covers the cost of
A hearing aid could cost between $1000 to $4000. It is also important to note that many insurance
companies do not provide coverage for hearing aids. The State of
Wisconsin now requires health insurers to offer coverage for hearing
aids and cochlear implants for children up to age 18. Various programs to assist in offsetting the cost
exist at both the
state and national levels.
Prior to purchasing hearing aid(s), make sure to
check with health care plan including TRICARE for active/retired
military personnel and their dependents. If a copy of the
plan is not available, the employer’s benefit manager can provide one.
The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends
that insured persons look for:
Terms such as: audiology, hearing care, other
rehabilitation or other medically necessary services.
Limitations and exclusions of coverage.
Coverage of both evaluation and treatment
Contact ASHA for information on insurance coverage
of hearing aids, cochlear implants and related services. ASHA
keeps abreast of current developments and changes in the coverage of
hearing health care expenses by private insurance, Medicaid, and
Medicare. Contact ASHA at:
American Speech-Language Hearing Association
1080-1 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
301-897-5700 Voice/ TTY
800-638-8255 Voice/ TTY
Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
DVR will provide services to consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing
or deafblind who meet DVR eligibility requirements. Assistance with
hearing aids and other assistive listening devices might be provided
to consumers who need such devices to secure or retain employment.
There are DVR offices located all around the state.
U.S. Veterans Administration (VA)
Veterans Administration will provide hearing aids and eyeglasses to
veterans who receive increased pension based on the need for regular
aid and attendance or being permanently housebound, receive
compensation for a service-connected disability or are former POWs or
received a Purple Heart medal. Otherwise hearing aids and
eyeglasses are provided only in special circumstances and not for
normally occurring hearing or vision loss. For additional
information, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest
VA health care facility. (Taken from Federal Benefits for
Veterans and Dependents, 2008 Edition.)
Medicare specifically excludes hearing aids and exams for fitting
hearing aids. Hearing and balance exams are covered only if
ordered by a doctor to see if you need medical treatment. Standard
qualifications for the Medicare program apply. Coverage is available,
however, for cochlear implantation if all criteria for Medicare
coverage are met.
Wisconsin Medicaid -
Medicaid is a joint federal/state program established in 1965 under
Title XIX of the Social Security Act to pay for medical services for
people with disabilities, people 65 years and older, children and
their caretakers, and pregnant women who meet the program's financial
requirements. The purpose of Wisconsin Medicaid is to provide
reimbursement for and assure the availability of appropriate medical
care to persons who meet the criteria for Medicaid. Wisconsin
Medicaid is also known as the Medical
Assistance Program, Title XIX, or T19. Speech, hearing and
services (PDF, 32 MB) are covered. Hearing aids and cochlear
implants are covered services under some plans for Medicaid eligible recipients.
Medicaid Eligibility Option
The Katie Beckett Program is a special eligibility process that allows
certain children who are residents of Wisconsin with long-term disabilities or complex medical needs, living at home
with their families, to obtain a Wisconsin Medicaid card. Children who
are not eligible for other Medicaid programs because the income or
assets of their parents are too high, may be eligible for Medicaid
through the Katie Beckett Program, if they meet all the eligibility
Wisconsin Infant/ Children’s Statewide Hearing
Aid Exchange Service (WISHES)
The WISHES program provides hearing instruments for a 6 month period to newly identified deaf and
hard of hearing children who are not Medicaid eligible or do not have
other hearing aid insurance coverage (children ages 0-3 will be given
priority). This temporary assistance is intended to bridge the
gap between identification of a hearing loss and obtaining the
financial means to purchase personal amplification or for children
awaiting cochlear implant surgery. Families can access the
program through their clinical audiologist.
WisLoan is an alternative loan program for persons with disabilities,
including people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing, in Wisconsin
whom wish to buy equipment such as hearing aids, modified vehicles,
wheelchairs and ramps. The program is open to Wisconsin
residents of all ages who have a disability. There are no income
requirements, and individuals are not required to exhaust personal or
public funding. Under the program, banks provide loans to qualified
borrowers. Loan amounts depend on the item purchased and the ability
to repay the loan.
Independent living centers throughout the state provide technical
assistance, applications, and assistive technology services.
Wisconsin First Step is a statewide information and referral
service dedicated to helping families and professionals find resources
for children birth to 21 years with special needs. It also serves as
central directory for WI’s Birth to 3 Program, & links parents
& professionals to Regional CSHCN (Children w/ Special Health Care
Needs) Centers across the state.
ABC for Health is a Wisconsin-based, nonprofit public interest law firm
dedicated to linking children and families, particularly those with
special health care needs, to health care benefits and services. ABC for
Health’s mission is to provide information, advocacy tools, legal
services and expert support needed to obtain, maintain and finance
health care coverage and services.
Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care
Audient is a non-profit program that provides affordable access to
hearing care to people with limited financial resources.
Through this program, hearing care professionals and suppliers
offer their services to the AUDIENT Program, so that services can be
made available at a greatly reduced cost. Applicants must meet income eligibility requirements. Once a
person is determined to be eligible for the program, they are referred
to the AUDIENT program partner, Ear Professionals International
Corporation (EPIC), who then refers them to an AUDIENT program partner
provider in their area.
ME HEAR FOUNDATION
To give the gift of hearing to impoverished deaf
children across the globe by providing them with the most advanced
hearing devices available. This is a 501c(3) non-profit organization.
Fund, Inc. (The Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment Fund)
The HIKE Fund, Inc. is the continuing philanthropic project of Jobs
Daughters International. The purpose of the Fund is to provide hearing
devices for children with hearing losses between the ages of newborn
and twenty years whose parents are unable to meet this special need
financially. Children are eligible to receive a grant providing the
need is verified by a prescription from and audiologist or physician.
The Fund has also awarded many types of devices including, but not
limited to, hearing aids, FM systems, closed caption converters,
tactile units, alerting systems, and specialized sports equipment, to
aid children with hearing loss in communication.
Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (Lions-AHAP)
Through the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project, the Lions Clubs
International Foundation (LCIF) is providing high-quality, low-cost
hearing aids to people who could not otherwise afford them.
This project is in addition to other Lions hearing
Currently Lions AHAP is distributing two hearing aids manufactured
by Rexton, Inc. Both are digital, behind the ear aids in cooperation
with participating Lions foundations, districts and clubs, and
hearing care professionals. Lions clubs, districts and hearing
programs are able to order one or both aids from Lions AHAP. After
clearing all criteria, Lions AHAP forwards the order to Rexton.
Rexton ships the hearing aids to the hearing care professional who
have working relationships with these Lions entities.
Lions Clubs International provides support for people who are D/HH/DB
by offering the following services: hearing awareness, hearing
screenings, communication aids for persons who are deaf or hard of
hearing, recreational camps for persons who are deaf or hard of
hearing, support for the D/HH community. Lions operate a Hearing Aid
Bank Program that collects used hearing aids that are then refurbished
and made available to people who could not otherwise afford to
purchase hearing aids.
Ear Children’s Foundation
This program provides no-cost hearing aids and hearing support
services to children age 16 or younger whose families have a
significantly limited income but are not eligible for any public
support and are unable to afford the high costs of quality hearing
are evaluated on a case by case basis.
International (SERvice TO Mankind)
SERTOMA International is a volunteer civic service organization with
clubs in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Sertoma's mission supports hearing health. The Sertoma Club of
Madison and the University of Wisconsin Speech & Hearing Clinic
provide reconditioned hearing aids to low income individuals through
their Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling program. Preference for
assistance will be given to residents of Dane county and surrounding
Hearing Foundation/Hear Now
Hear Now is a national non-profit program of the Starkey Hearing
Foundation committed to assisting deaf and hard-of-hearing persons
with limited financial resources who permanently reside within the
United States. HEAR NOW provides new and reconditioned hearing aids
through hearing health providers nationwide. HEAR NOW is a program of
last resort and is designed to assist those who have no other resource
available to them. HEAR NOW considers family support or funds
available in money market accounts, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, IRAs,
certificates of deposit (CDs), checking/savings accounts, stocks,
bonds, or T-bills when determining eligibility. There is a
non-refundable processing fee for each hearing aid applied for through
Local Civic or Service Organizations:
Local civic and service organizations such as: local
Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimist clubs, Goodwill Industries, National
Easter Seals Society, Telephone Pioneers of American, Granges and March of Dimes to name a few provide assistance
to individuals for hearing aids and assistive technology. Consult
your local phone directory to locate these organizations within your
Cochlear Implant information
Information about types of hearing loss.
on hearing loss.
If you would like more information regarding financial assistance as well
as insurance coverage visit the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
The Gift of Hearing
Foundation also keeps abreast of and support areas of research as well as
legislation that can impact both the cost and awareness factors.
Sources of Funding in Wisconsin for TTYs, Amplified Telephones, Captioned
Telecommunication Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP)
is to help people with disabilities buy equipment from approved
vendors they need in order to use basic telephone services. TEPP is
paid for through the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF)
established by the Public Service Commission (PSC). Money collected
from Wisconsin telephone services providers goes into the USF. TEPP
requires that an applicant:
- Be a Wisconsin resident
- Be a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, speech
impaired, or mobility or motion impaired
- Need special equipment to use the telephone in
the home or when traveling (such as a TTY, amplification, visual
alert system, etc.)
There is no age or income limit but an individual can
only receive TEPP money (in the form of a voucher) once every three
years for the same type of disability. You pay the first $100 (except
for HH vouchers) and the TEPP voucher pays the rest up to the maximum
voucher amount. (See Telecommunications Assistance Program for
assistance with the required $100 co-pay if you are low-income.)
Assistance Program (TAP) is a program of the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH).
TAP is only for persons who are hard of hearing, deaf or severely hard
of hearing, deaf with low vision, or deafblind in a low-income
household. TAP funds pay the $100 co-payment if you qualify. TAP
applications are combined with the TEPP applications. For TAP, you must
also fill out the household income lines and send a hearing loss
certificate (available from an ODHH Regional Coordinator, DVR Counselor,
Independent Living Center Counselor, Certified Audiologist, or Licensed
Physician). If your total household income meets the TAP income limits,
your application will be automatically processed for a TEPP and TAP
voucher so your voucher may include the $100 co-payment.
March 01, 2013