Bill awaiting Mo. Gov’s signature could help low income people get hearing aids

Expanding access to hearing aids in Mo.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Hearing aids could soon be more accessible to Missourians who can’t afford them.

It’s all thanks to Senate Bill 101, that’s on Governor Mike Parson’s desk awaiting his signature.

“It’s really a quality of life investment that a person makes however that investment is significant and is often the biggest hurdle that we have to overcome," said Trent Essner, an audiologist at Sound Advice Hearing Doctors.

He said quality hearing aids can range from $1,000 to almost $3,000 per ear.

“My favorite part of my job is helping people everyday, help improve their quality of life and it’s really disheartening when somebody is here sitting in front of me and they need the help but we just can’t figure out the financial part of it - that’s probably the hardest part of my job," said Essner.

That’s where Senate Bill 101 comes in. Its goal is to create a hearing aid distribution program that will provide financial assistance for hearing aids for people who earn less than the federal poverty level.

According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services an individual must earn no more than $12,490 per year.

“To have any help, to have any benefit would be great,” said Essner.

If signed by Gov. Parson, $100,000 will be set aside for the program for the next fiscal year and Essner said he thinks this will really benefit folks in our area.

“This bill seems to target those that have a lower income and for those individual hearing is no less important but often we do have that difficult conversation on how we are going to make this feasible for them," said Essner.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.