The Ins and Outs of Hearing Aid Coverage Under the ACA

That’s the Affordable Care Act, and it doesn’t solve quite everything.

Last week’s Supreme Court affirmation of the Affordable Care Act is good news for the 6.4 million Americans who stood to lose their health insurance if the decision had gone the other way. But it doesn’t improve matters for those with hearing loss. The ACA, unlike Medicare, does not specifically exclude coverage for hearing aids. In fact, the ACA does not specifically exclude any coverage: it was written in a positive way, delineating several categories of benefits that must be included in insurance policies sold on the exchanges. The Department of Health and Human Services referred to these as benchmarks for essential health benefits.

But the territory is murky. As the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) noted, coverage for hearing aids, hearing-aid accessories and hearing tests is a gray area.

Click here to read more about your state’s plan and its specific benefits (or lack of them) — and learn how you can affect insurance coverage of hearing-health care.

Safer Summer Travel

Summer travel often means staying in a hotel or motel room, or in a succession of hotels if you’re on a tour. It can be a great luxury, but especially if you’re moving from one place to another every few days, it can get confusing. I’m sure every one of us has left something in a hotel room: a converter plugged into the wall, your toothbrush, clothes hanging in a closet.

Disability Icon SetFor those with a disability, it can also be frustrating and even dangerous. Fortunately the ADA has made hotel stays easier for everyone….

Read more here to find out about hotel accommodations for those with hearing loss.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know …..

Everything you always wanted to know about hearing loss…. now in one slim volume!

Living Better With Hearing Loss: A Guide to Health, Happiness, Love, Sex, Work, Friends … and Hearing Aids is now available at any bookseller in paper or as an ebook. As the subtitle says, it covers everything about hearing loss — and hearing health — that you’ve ever wondered about.9780761187226

You can order here or by clicking on the book cover or the title. Order it as an ebook or a paperback. Both are available.

Brenda Battat, former executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, has this to say about the book:

“Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with hearing loss for a while this book is packed with up-to-date, well researched information. It moves fast and the writing is easy-going, humorous and perceptive. Anyone interested in hearing loss is fortunate to have a talented professional writer of Katherine’s caliber to tell it like it is — and wake us up to a quality of life issue that has been misunderstood and ignored for far too long.”

And thank you Shanna Groves, author of the blog “Lipreading Mom”, for this wonderful and informative review on

It’s Summertime, and the Livin’ is Noisy……

In general, summer is easier on the ears than winter, because many of us spend time outdoors and enjoying leisure activities that tend to be quieter than some winter pursuits.

Couple wearing ear protection at NASCAR raceBut don’t be lulled into thinking your hearing is safe. Click here to read about five of the most damaging sources of summer noise exposure, and find out how to protect yourself. Check out this “noise thermometer” for some surprising decibel levels.

If you’re into stock car racing, pictured at right, you can also find out how to get your own Nascar brand earmuffs.

Photo: Onfokus/iStock

Four Show-Stopping Ways to Hear Better at the Theater.

Do you love the theater but rarely go because you can’t understand the dialogue or lyrics?

iStock_000002637313MediumFortunately there are several solutions to this problem beyond the familiar infrared headphones that many theaters offer. And those with hearing loss can even get discount tickets to many shows. First, about infrared. Theaters that seat more than 50 people are required, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide hearing assistance. Most offer infrared systems, with many options to chose from. Some offer captioning, either on hand held devices or on a screen.

Read more here to find out how you can more fully enjoy your theater experience.



Musicians Do It. Why You Should Too.

Musicians wear earplugs that allow them to hear the music without wrecking their hearing. No reason you shouldn’t do the same.

An interviewer asked me the other day what I was doing for Better Hearing Month (May). Every month is Better Hearing Month for me, I said. Still, when it comes to hearing health, we can’t talk too much about prevention.

Most hearing loss is caused by noise, with age either equal or a close second. If your ears are ringing after a concert or football game, they may seem to recover but that ringing is an indication that you may have suffered permanent damage. It won’t show up on a hearing test, but …

To read the full article and learn how that seemingly temporary loss may lead to permanent damage, click here.

Click here to read about more ways to prevent hearing loss.