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How Health Insurance Can Help You with Hearing Loss

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Did you know that in Canada, 77% of adults and 95% of children with measured hearing loss were not aware of their hearing problems? Maybe it’s time to check your family’s hearing.[ source:  Statistics Canada Health Fact Sheet:  Hearing Loss of Canadians 2012-15 ]

Hearing problems, like other health events, can be especially stressful because of the emotional toll they can have on the entire family. Too many times families are surprised to discover that provincial healthcare plans will not cover all the out-of-pocket costs for many health needs, including hearing aids and therapists.

Having a health insurance plan in place can help you be prepared for the unexpectedly significant financial impact of hearing loss.

How do you know if you have hearing loss?

Hearing loss is an “invisible” condition that affects about 20% of Canadians. When you have hearing loss, normal sounds you hear are just not as sharp as they should be. Others may not be able to tell that you have hearing loss, but after spending some time in conversation, they may realize even before you do the impact that hearing loss is having on your quality of life.

[ source:  Statistics Canada Health Fact Sheet:  Prevalence of hearing loss among Canadians aged 20 to 79: Audiometric results from the 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey ] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/82-003-x/2015007/article/14206-eng.pdf?st=o7GslT9v

Hearing loss is complex. How one person hears can be quite different from how another person hears. There are many different degrees of hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss can be subtle and surface slowly, or can be significant and come on suddenly. You might have hearing loss if you:

  • Have trouble hearing clearly, especially when there is background noise
  • Find group conversations difficult to follow
  • Play the volume on the TV or radio too loudly (according to others)
  • Think everybody is mumbling or that sounds are muffled
  • Frequently ask people to repeat themselves
  • Have trouble hearing when a speaker isn’t facing you
  • Find telephone conversations are becoming more difficult
  • Avoid social situations because you aren’t confident in your hearing

Isn’t hearing loss just an ‘age thing’?

Hearing loss is not just age related; it is affecting people at younger and younger ages.

While the most common causes of hearing loss are aging and prolonged loud noise exposure, it’s important to remember that an illness like a brain tumor can result in the loss of hearing, speaking, reading and writing abilities. Exposure to certain drugs and chemicals can also cause unexpected hearing loss. And accidental injury caused by external force (like a car accident) can result in hearing loss that requires medical attention.

For growing families, it is important to remember that children are not immune. Hearing loss can occur as a result of genetics even from birth, most often to parents who have no hearing impairment. Like any adult, a child can also experience hearing loss due to an illness or a sports injury.

What are the consequences of a hearing impairment that goes untreated?

It’s important to be prepared to test for and treat losses as early as possible. Hearing loss is more than just an inconvenience; it can have serious social, health and economic consequences. As an employee, hearing loss can impact morale when communicating becomes difficult, and it can reduce performance and productivity.

Outside of the work environment, it can become a social barrier and for children, hearing loss can result in poor academic performance, language development and even social isolation.

Hearing loss can even cause safety concerns. Imagine your child not realizing that she is unable to hear an alarm clearly or the noise of oncoming traffic. Her safety can be at stake!

It is important to take steps to identify and treat the problem as soon as possible.

Therapy and Hearing Aids Can Often Help

hearing-loss-in-children-a-child-at-the-ent-doctor

Not all hearing losses require (or can benefit from) therapies or hearing aids, but many can.

Today more than ever before, hearing aids can be used to help treat a broad range of hearing losses. Technological advances have increased the flexibility of hearing aids to accommodate far more patient‐specific factors in order to improve performance.

You will need a prescription from your doctor or specialist to purchase a hearing aid that can provide specific sound characteristics and give you optimal performance and communicative benefits.

For children or adults suffering loss after an accident, speech therapy by a pathologist can assist in identifying, assessing and providing treatment.

The financial aftermath of an unexpected health event that causes hearing loss can seriously impact a family’s resources. Financial hardship afflicts 40% of Canadians who have gone through a health emergency.

Your Health Insurance Can Help Cover the Costs

When people hear “Universal Healthcare” or “Provincial Coverage” they may be under the impression that all healthcare needs are covered in these government plans. Unfortunately, there are many pieces of the healthcare puzzle missing from government insurance. It’s important to know that your provincial health plan and other government programs may only cover a portion of the cost of hearing aids — and the remaining out-of-pocket costs can be substantial.

The good news is that health insurance can help provide funds for both therapy and hearing aids.

A standard health insurance plan will typically provide reimbursement for the cost of therapeutic visits for a specified number of visits each policy year. The health plan may also pay a specific amount toward the purchase of hearing aids, like $400 allowed every 4 years toward the entire hearing aid purchase (whether one aid or two aids are purchased), or the repair of hearing aids you own. Some plans include access to discounts from providers.

The design of these benefits corresponds well with the treatment. Supportive funding for therapies is usually ongoing, while the funding for hearing aids fits the average lifespan of the medical equipment. On average, in-the-ear hearing aids have an estimated lifespan of 4–5 years, while behind-the-ear hearing aids have a 5–6 year lifespan.

Talk to us today — we are ready to listen to your needs!

Each year thousands of Canadian families face the burden of hearing loss and need to seek hearing services. Take the time now to find out what speech and hearing service costs your health insurance plan can help to cover.  Talk to us today; we are ready to listen and help you find a coverage package to suit your needs and budget.

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