Financial assistance to purchase hearing aids may be available from a variety of sources for children who get Medicaid, older Texans and people who are looking for employment.
Who Can Get Help?
- Active duty military family members: People who meet specific hearing-loss requirements will be eligible to receive hearing aids, including services and supplies, as a TRICARE benefit. For more information, visit the TRICARE website at www.tricare.osd.mil or call the TRICARE Regional Office 877-874-2273, 800-444-5445 or 888-874-9378. Overseas beneficiaries may call 1-888-777-8343.
- Veteran's Administration: Veterans who have at least a 10 percent service-connected disability (any disability, not just hearing loss) the VA can provide hearing aids and other assistive devices.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: The Texas Workforce Commission may provide hearing aids and assistive devices for qualifying adults who want to maintain current employment or who are seeking employment. Call 512-424-4060 and ask to be referred office nearest you. Or look in blue or yellow pages for Texas Workforce Commission under state agencies.
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Families can qualify if they earn up to 200 percent of poverty level, but must re-apply every 6 months. Call 800-647-6558 or visit www.texcarepartnership.com.
- Medicaid: Children birth to 21 who are on Medicaid, can visit www.tmhp.com/Pages/Topics/PACT.aspx.
- Miracle Ear Children's Foundation: For children 16 and younger. To qualify, a family of 4 must have a gross income of $20,000-45,000, must be an U.S. citizen, and have a current audiogram and medical release. Call 800-234-5422.
- Public schools: Schools may be responsible for services as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Contact Randi Turner to learn more about this option.
- Area agency on aging (AAA): Call your local AAA at 888-622-9111 to see if they offer grants to help with hearing aid costs.
- The Texas Health and Human Services Commission Independent Living (IL) program: This program may help older people who are not working and who have a disability. There may be a long waiting list. Call one of the following:
- Amarillo: 806-353-7491
- Austin: 512-491-8583
- El Paso: 915-778-7714
- Fort Worth: 817-923-5080
- Houston: 713-521-1119
- Irving: 972-254-9503
- Lubbock: 806-747-1625
- McAllen: 956-971-8655
- San Antonio: 210-650-0943
People of All Ages
- Local universities: University speech and hearing clinics may offer a sliding-scale fee and use graduate students to help keep costs down. Others may have a recycled hearing aid program.
- Hear Now/Starkey Foundation: This national program donates new Starkey hearing aids if the hearing aid dispenser donates their services. While client income is considered, out-of-pocket medical expenses also are considered. There is an application process and a $100 per aid non-refundable application fee. The total household income is considered, not just the applicant's financial position. Call 800-648-4327 and press 1 for application or visit www.sotheworldmayhear.org/forms/hearnow.php.
- Private health insurance: Check your private health insurance coverage.
- Payment Plan: Need credit approval and must go to their list of providers. 877-354-8337 and push ext. #1 for application.
- ESCO Help Card: Need credit approval and must go to their list of providers. 800-945-4357 or www.earserv.com
- Civic organizations: Check your local Lions, Kiwanis, Sertoma and other civic organizations to learn if there is a re-conditioned hearing aid (recycling) program in your community.
- Assistive Listening Devices: An alternative to a hearing aid, retail from $100 to $180. These look like a 'walkman' radio. The person with hearing impairment wears headphones or an earbud and the person speaking uses a microphone. These are appropriate for one on one situations where the speaker is near the listener. They are also great for noisy situations. For more information, contact:
- Audex at 800-237-0716 and ask about their Sound Director System
- Williams Sound Company 800-843-3544 makes a Pocket Talker
- Hitec makes the Sound Wizard, 800-288-8303
For possible local resources, or other help related to hearing loss, contact the DHHS Specialist in your area. To locate your DHHS Specialist contractor, go to www.dars.state.tx.us/dhhs/providers/contractors.asp. You can then click to view a regional map and for the contact information. You can also call 512-407-3250 to ask for the nearest contractor.