One of the real issues facing people with hearing loss is the expense of acquiring and maintaining equipment that helps them minimize the impact of their hearing loss. For many people, the most expensive equipment is their hearing aids.
If you’re a small business and would like to improve accessibility for either customers or employees, the Disabled Access Credit provides tax credits for your expenditures.
February 2001 – Does your area have a hearing loss equipment rental program? If not, maybe you should think about starting one!
August 2005 – North Carolina has just announced a program that uses excess relay money to provide hearing aids, ALDS, and alerting devices to state residents!
November 2006 – ‘Let Them Hear’ Suspends Program for Cochlear and Med-El Implants
Hearing Loss Equipment Rental Program
I recently read an article from the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal that reported on a woman who started a program to rent equipment for people with hearing loss. What got her started on this program was an electrical storm that damaged her door and telephone flasher. Her three weeks without them were extremely difficult for her.
So she decided to start a program to rent equipment in such situations. It turns out that it’s also a great way for people to have the opportunity to “test drive” various equipment before buying something.
The program, called Hearing Helpers Resource and Rentals has a total of 35 devices, including smoke alarms, TTYs, various flashers, and weather alert radios. They rent the devices for $20, of which $10 is refunded when the equipment is returned.
The program also helps people buy equipment at wholesale prices.
BTW, if your area doesn’t have such a program and you’re looking for something to do, this sounds like a really valuable service that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to set up or manage.
Hearing aids no longer just for the wealthy in North Carolina
Every state is required by law to provide a telecommunications relay service; that’s the service that allows TTY users or Video Phone users to communicate with people who use a standard voice phone. In addition most states provide a telecommunications distribution program, which provides TTYs or amplified telephones to people with hearing loss at reduced cost or no cost.
North Carolina has now taken the creative step of using some of the excess relay service funding to provide hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and alerting devices to state residents with hearing loss! How great would it be if this program became a model for every state in the country?