New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans Wins Hearing Aid Help Bill
Charlie Balban, a retired Sheet Metal Workers (SMWIA) member and president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, suspects his hearing loss started during his apprentice days in a noisy shop.
Now, years later, he knows firsthand how expensive a good hearing aid can be—and how essential. Balban joined with the New Hampshire Alliance, which led the successful fight for state legislation that will help retirees and workers afford the devices.
This week, the New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill that ensures insurance companies provide $1,500 over five years to help people purchase hearing aids and related services. The bill passed the House earlier. “A good hearing aid can cost as much as $6,000,” says Balban.
Retirees use them more than anyone else, but most retirees live on fixed incomes so it’s hard for them to afford an effective hearing aid. This bill will help retirees and also help people still in the workforce.
He says the bill is low cost to business and will “help workers and retirees to pay for these devices and get fitted for them.”
Alliance members wrote letters, made phone calls and sent e-mail messages to build support for the bill and worked with allies, including Commission on Deafness and Hearing Loss, the New Hampshire Association of the Deaf, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, Granite State Independent Living and the New Hampshire Alliance.