Care for seniors with hearing loss

Library will host talk by The Time to Hear is Here organization

The Sun.

The Time to Hear is Here organization will host a free presentation on Tuesday, March 12, at the Mullica Hill library to advocate and educate people on senior hearing issues and why Medicare should cover them.

The volunteer advocacy group will focus on gradual hearing loss in seniors, as well as the financial issues that come with it.

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“This organization has no financial interests or ties to any manufacturer, dealer or dispenser of hearing aids or hearing assistive devices of any kind,” said Adult Services Librarian Debbie Drachman.

“The presentation mentions, and in some cases, recommends certain features, brands, manufacturers or dispensers based on the experience and research of the speaker, but (there is) no compensation or commissions …”

The speaker will be Ron Gottardi, a longtime hearing loss advocate who is also a seasoned consultant and educator. He has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers and Temple universities, according to a description of the event. His specialties include technology, finance and management science.

The presentation will also include data from a study on hearing loss issues in the Medicare population.

“In the nationally representative sample of older Medicare participants age 71 or above,” the study reported, “almost two-thirds (65.3%) – corresponding to an estimated 21.5 million individuals – had some degree of hearing loss. In older age groups, it gets much worse.

“This study provides a better understanding of the true extent of hearing loss among older U.S. adults, (and) we need this data to appropriately plan public health and policy actions to address hearing loss in the U.S., especially Medicare coverage for hearing aids.”

A petition directed to Congress will be offered to library attendees to sign, in the hope that legislators will eventually require Medicare to pay for treatment of seniors and others with hearing loss.

The latest technological advances in hearing loss will also be covered in the presentation, including venue systems based on FM radio/infrared, cellphone/WiFi, teleloop/t-coil and the most recent Bluetooth technology, Auracast.

The Time to Hear is Here presentation will begin at 2 p.m. Attendance does not require a library card, but participants must each register with a form on the GCLS website.

“The time is here for Congress to hear and act on Medicare providing coverage for hearing aids,” says the event description. “… The time is here for seniors to be able to obtain the hearing technology they need.”

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