Tell lawmakers to support those with hearing problems

    A public hearing for the children’s hearing aid and cochlear implant bill
is scheduled at the state Capitol for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 18. The
bill, which did not pass last session, has been reintroduced this session.
This bill would create a new health care insurance mandate, requiring
individual and group insurance policies in Wisconsin to cover hearing aids
and cochlear implants for deaf and hard-of-hearing children under 18 years
of age.
    As a past hearing aid recipient and cochlear implant advocate, I plan to
testify at the upcoming hearing. As someone who grew up with significant
hearing loss and who has benefited from both a hearing aid and cochlear
implant, I feel very strongly that this bill needs to be passed. It has
given me quality of life.
    As many as 200 children are either born deaf or hard of hearing every year.
The $60,000 price tag for a cochlear implant or the $2,000 to $5,000 price
tag for a hearing aid are costs many of the families in Wisconsin with
hearing-impaired children can’t afford. Without this bill, taxpayers foot
the bill of up to $1 million throughout a person’s lifetime just to pay for
extra services associated with impaired hearing, according to the National
Institute of Health.
    For more information about the bill or to read stories like mine, log on to
www.letkidshear.org. Please take time to write to your legislator to support
this bill.

JULIE SPANGLER
Janesville