«

»

Sources of Funding

July 13th, 2008 by | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »

UPDATED 8/2014

Decades and centuries ago, learning to listen and talk used to be a privilege reserved for the select few — children whose families could afford costly travel, private tutors, the best hearing technology.  Today, the reality is vastly different — NO child should EVER be denied a chance at listening, speaking, and a quality education just because of her family’s inability to pay for these services.  Communication is a human right for EVERYONE, regardless of financial status.  Over the years, I have seen families who had everything and families who had nothing — and it was parental involvement, NOT money, that made the difference in these children’s outcomes.  This is why Rachel and I made a commitment when we began our EaR Books productions that profits would be donated to charitable organizations that support deaf children — we know that parents who are willing to advocate for their children and seek out resources when necessary are crucial to the success of their children.  The sources of funding are out there, and there are plenty of people willing to help.  Just ask!  It could make the difference for you and your child.

Here are some fantastic resources to help families who have chosen a listening and spoken language approach for their children and their families (in no particular order):

  • First, make the best possible case to your insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid coverage.  Check out our insurance guide HERE.  Don’t give up if you get a denial on your first try.  Write a strong appeal, and try, try again.
  • For adults, state vocational rehabilitation programs may help with the cost of hearing equipment, as it is tied into your ability to successfully get and keep a job.
  • Some companies offer their employees the option of putting money into a Health Savings Account (HSA), which is untaxed to a certain limit and may be used for medical expenses, like those related to hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • Speak to the insurance coordinator of your hospital’s cochlear implant team.  Most teams have someone who does the administrative work, liaises with insurance companies, etc.  This person is a great resource for writing insurance appeals and also is usually in the know about alternate sources of funding in your area, whether they’re patient assistance programs at your hospital or charities in your local area.
  • Some workplaces have “employee assistance funds” to help out their employees during times of crisis.  Ask your HR department.
  • Speak to customer services at your cochlear implant company.  They have lots of experience helping people get the funding they need to get the devices that will help them hear.
  • The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers NUMEROUS sources of financial support.  HERE is a list of all of their scholarship programs (with help for everyone, from infants to adults!) and HERE are some additional financial aid resources they provide.
  • Listen-Up has a huge list of “Sources of Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Funding”, as does the website Help Kids Hear.
  • The Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation is an awareness-raising organization started by the parents of a CI user that also provides support to families investigating cochlear implant(s) for their child(ren).
  • The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) has a Cochlear Implant Assistance Fund.  
  • Local Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Sertoma Clubs, or other charitable organizations may have funds specifically to help people with hearing and/or visual impairments.  Or, they might have charitable funds set up that, while not specifically allocated for people with hearing loss, may be able to be used to help with various needs in the community.
  • Miracle Ear, Starkey, and other hearing aid manufacturers have charitable funds to help people, especially children, afford the hearing aids they need.
  • Most clergy members have “discretionary funds” at their disposal to help members of their congregations.  Get in touch with the leaders at your house of worship, if you have one, and see if they are able to assist or if they know of any local charities that may be able to help.
  • The Gift of Hearing Foundation provides financial assistance to people in need of cochlear implants.  Interested candidates should apply through their hearing healthcare professionals, as the foundation does not accept direct applications.
  • Various other CI centers, AVT practices, and oral schools offer their own in-house financial aid programs, loaner HA/CI equipment banks, and/or scholarships — just ask!  For example, I provide a sliding fee scale for my auditory verbal teletherapy services.  

I hope that this small sampling of resources will help to show you that parents should be free to make the choice of communication modality/hearing technology for their children without worrying about financial strains.  Regardless of what path you choose, help is out there!

If you know of any other sources of funding, please leave a link in the comments section!

Written by

Elizabeth Rosenzweig MS CCC-SLP LSLS Cert. AVT is a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist. She provides auditory verbal therapy, aural rehabilitation, IEP advocacy, consultation, and LSLS mentoring for clients around the world via teletherapy. You can learn more about Elizabeth's services on her Website or Facebook.

8 Comments

valerie

July 14, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Let Them Hear took my case since my insurance denied my bilateral CIs. They won my case and now I have my wonderful bilateral implants. They are a fantastic organization. Words can not express the professionism, commitment, and knowledge that organization has. I highly suggest a visit to there web site.

July 14, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for this info Elizabeth! I was just checking into sources for Aiden’s hearing aids since I just found out our insurance won’t pay for them! The funny thing is though, that for them to cover CIs they require the child to wear hearing aids for at least 3 months prior to implantation! Makes no sense!

Deaf Person

July 15, 2008 at 10:04 am

Hello Tammy,
Insurances usually (from what I understand) would not cover hearing aids while some insurances may be more willing to cover CIs. It seems that those willing insurances feel that CI is an one-time thing while hearing aids will be replaced a few times which costs more (in their eyes). In my state, there is a technology assistive fund for children age 0-3 to receive hearing aids. Many parents are not aware of this funding unless they enroll their child in the early childhood program. Also many children with disablities are usually on medicard (or medicare?)-regardless parents’ salaries- which usually cover hearing aids in my state. My son recieved his hearing aids through the technology assistive program since he is on my insurance plan and it will not cover HAs. We are seeing next week if we will take the step toward having our son implanted. In my opinion, it is a real scary decision for many parents, especially deaf parents! Of course, parents want the best for their children and make sure they have more opportunties.

Rachel

July 15, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Thanks for posting this, Elizabeth! It’s very true that economic issue should not be an excuse for not allowing children to be raised with the listening and spoken language approach. Back when I was an infant, my dad was still in medical training and my mom was working part-time. So, we hardly had any money, and we even had to rely on my grandparents for support. So, back in those days, I sure did have a substantial scholarship to attend Auditory-Verbal therapy sessions.

Valerie, Let Them Hear Foundation has always been one of my favorite organizations even though I never used them. They just have an incredible record of helping families getting insurance coverage for CIs.

Deaf Person,

Thanks for keeping me posted on your son’s progress!

Tammy,

It’s quite ridiculous, isn’t? I wonder if any organizations like AG Bell are advocating to get insurance to cover HAs? Does your AVT center have some kind of hearing aids rental? I think my center does, but I have to check.

July 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

The Auditory-Verbal Center in Atlanta has loaner hearing aids for babies. We never had to purchase any for Jessica. We just used their loaners until she got her CI.

April 2, 2012 at 1:59 am

[...] is to talk to your CI center’s insurance/finance coordinator about your options.  Secondly, HERE are some outside organizations that may be able to assist you with cochlear implant [...]

Mir Shahzad

November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

There is a one and a half year old baby girl in my vicinity whom doctors suggested for cochlear transplant but problem is that this family cannot afford that so will you please suggest or guide us to any charity program or such thing offered there in your country or any company who sponsor her this device if so they or we can handle hospital/doctors expenditure here in Pakistan.
I hope for an early response,

November 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I am not aware of any charities that work specifically in Pakistan. I suggest contacting the organizations listed above to see if they have programs in your area.