The Latest News in Hearing Loss: Innovation and Advocacy
by Envoy Medical Staff Member, on February 4, 2023
We are only one month into the new year and are already seeing some great research, advocacy, and innovation pertaining to hearing loss and living with hearing loss. Some highlights are below.
A new study led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health highlights the potential benefit of treating hearing loss in older adults.
The study used a nationwide sample of 2,413 Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, half of whom showed an association between severe hearing loss and dementia. The study showed a 61 percent higher prevalence of dementia among those with hearing loss than those with normal hearing. However, hearing aid use was associated with a 32 percent lower prevalence of dementia in those with moderate/severe hearing loss. More studies are needed, but the potential benefit of improving your cognition by treating your hearing loss looks promising.
The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2023 was reintroduced (H.R. 244) by Representative Debbie Dingle on January 10th Since 1965 Medicare has had a hearing aid exclusion which has denied many older adults with hearing loss access to hearing technologies and healthcare services that can help protect them. Hearing aids are expensive, and this bill is designed to remove the hearing aid exclusion allowing access and coverage for Medicare recipients with hearing loss.
Innovative Glasses for People with Hearing loss
Many people with hearing loss have challenges understanding conversations in busy and loud places despite using hearing aids or implants. Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of Augmented Reality technology and products has designed a smart glasses solution that displays real-time captions of in-person conversations to help people with hearing loss. The design won a 2023 Innovation Award at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the wearable technology category, and they intend to offer it as an OEM platform. Sometime in the future, you will be able to purchase glasses with this feature and get some help in a sophisticated and discreet way.
Assistive Technology in the Senate
The Senate chamber has always been low-tech, and even phones are not allowed inside. However when freshman Senator John Fetterman was elected the Senate got an upgrade. Fetterman relied on extra technology on the campaign trail after a stroke left him struggling with auditory processing issues. He continues to struggle with these issues, and after the election, the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services reached out to better understand the type of accommodations he would need. The primary requirement is that he needed to be able to read what people say in real-time. Time magazine learned Fetterman now has a permanent live caption display monitor at his desk in the Senate chamber which can be raised or lowered depending on whether he is sitting or standing. There is a similar monitor that can be used when he takes his turn presiding over the Senate. This creative innovation helps set a standard on how accommodations should be addressed and carried out.
We look forward to more innovation in the months ahead!
The “hearing aid exclusion” within Medicare has denied many older adults with hearing loss access to hearing technologies and healthcare services that can help them remain healthy, connected, and able to care for themselves.
Envoy Medical Asks You to Urge Your Members of Congress to Support H.R. 244, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2023 to provide better access to treatments that improve hearing health.
Click here to request a letter template!