Sources of Funding for Hearing Technology and Rehabilitation

Decades and centuries ago, learning to listen and talk used to be a privilege reserved for the select few — children whose families could afford costly travel, private tutors, the best hearing technology.  Today, the reality is vastly different — NO child should EVER be denied a chance at listening, speaking, and a quality education just because of her family’s inability to pay for these services.

Communication is a human right for EVERYONE, regardless of financial status.  Over the years, I have seen families who had everything and families who had nothing — and it was parental involvement, NOT money, that made the difference in these children’s outcomes.  This is why Rachel (illustrator) and I made a commitment when we began our EaR Books productions that profits would be donated to charitable organizations that support deaf children — we knew that parents who are willing to advocate for their children and seek out resources when necessary are crucial to the success of their children.  The sources of funding are out there, and there are plenty of people willing to help.  Just ask!  It could make the difference for you and your child.

Here are some fantastic resources to help families who have chosen a listening and spoken language approach  (in no particular order):

  • First, make the best possible case to your insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid coverage.  Check out our insurance guide HERE.  Don’t give up if you get a denial on your first try.  Write a strong appeal, and try, try again.

  • For adults, state vocational rehabilitation programs may help with the cost of hearing equipment, as it is tied into your ability to successfully get and keep a job.

  • Some companies offer their employees the option of putting money into a Health Savings Account (HSA), which is untaxed to a certain limit and may be used for medical expenses, like those related to hearing aids and cochlear implants.

  • Speak to the insurance coordinator of your hospital’s cochlear implant team.  Most teams have someone who does the administrative work, liaises with insurance companies, etc.  This person is a great resource for writing insurance appeals and also is usually in the know about alternate sources of funding in your area, whether they’re patient assistance programs at your hospital or charities in your local area.

  • Some workplaces have “employee assistance funds” to help out their employees during times of crisis.  Ask your HR department.

  • Speak to customer services at your cochlear implant company.  They have lots of experience helping people get the funding they need to get the devices that will help them hear.

  • The Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation is an awareness-raising organization started by the parents of a CI user that also provides support to families investigating cochlear implant(s) for their child(ren).

  • Local Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Sertoma Clubs, or other charitable organizations may have funds specifically to help people with hearing and/or visual impairments.  Or, they might have charitable funds set up that, while not specifically allocated for people with hearing loss, may be able to be used to help with various needs in the community.

  • Miracle Ear, Starkey, and other hearing aid manufacturers have charitable funds to help people, especially children, afford the hearing aids they need.

  • Most clergy members have “discretionary funds” at their disposal to help members of their congregations.  Get in touch with the leaders at your house of worship, if you have one, and see if they are able to assist or if they know of any local charities that may be able to help.

  • The Gift of Hearing Foundation provides financial assistance to people in need of cochlear implants.  Interested candidates should apply through their hearing healthcare professionals, as the foundation does not accept direct applications.

  • Various other CI centers, AVT practices, and oral schools offer their own in-house financial aid programs, loaner HA/CI equipment banks, and/or scholarships — just ask!  For example, I provide a sliding fee scale for my auditory verbal teletherapy services.  

I hope that this small sampling of resources will help to show you that parents should be free to make the choice of communication modality/hearing technology for their children without worrying about financial strains.  Regardless of what path you choose, help is out there!

If you know of any other sources of funding, please leave a link in the comments section!

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