If you lose a leg, insurance will likely cover
the cost of your prosthesis. If you lose your arm, it’s the same. Even
if you lose your ability to perform sexually, more than likely your
Viagra is covered. But if you start to lose your hearing, far too often
you are on your own.
If hearing loss were officially considered
a disability, it would rank as the largest disability class in the
country. Some 37 million people suffer from hearing loss, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number will
only grow as the population ages.
Yet most private medical
insurance doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids. The Affordable Care
Act expanded coverage to include newborn hearing screenings when it
passed in 2010, but that was the single preventive-care expansion
related to hearing problems. It would take an actual act of Congress to
change it further. When private insurance does pay, it typically covers
the cost of an exam to assess hearing loss, and that’s about it.