Here’s a troubling statistic: In the United States, 35 million people are hearing impaired, but just 28.5 percent of them use hearing aids. Why?
Despite the fact that this common health issue affects more than 11 percent of the population, you can probably guess why many of those who are hearing impaired live in silence. Hearing aids are extremely expensive — from $1,000 to $6,000, per ear — and are not covered by most types of health insurance.
At Jupiter Community High School in Florida, students who need a hearing aid can borrow one from the district, but they have to return it as soon as they graduate so younger students can use them, WPTV reports. And while it’s important to allow every student the chance to hear, can you imagine what it’s like for someone to give it up?
Knowing this troubling situation, some teachers at the school decided to band together to raise funds for these students so they can keep their devices after graduation.
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“It broke our hearts to see them lose their hearing aids and go silent right at graduation, so we go out and find donors in the community and we find ways to purchase them hearing aids,” Dr. Kelly Easterling told WPTV.
Together, the teachers raised enough money to buy a hearing aid for one student, Syed Tajuddin, and they are trying to raise additional funds for 12 more.
“When [Dr. Easterling] told me that, I was so glad that I can go on ahead to college with all of the support and all that and so it’s really like a good thing,” Syed said.
Currently, there are only 19 states that require health benefit plans to pay for hearing aids — and Florida isn’t one of them.
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The reason why hearing aids aren’t covered by insurance is because they are considered elective in the same way that laser eye surgery or liposuction is. But as a major life function, the loss of hearing can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression or even dementia, CNN points out.
Hearing impairment is a major problem that won’t be going away anytime soon. Until there are solutions, at least there are teachers out there who won’t let their students have any limits.