Texas Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant Purchase Assistance

A word map with words such as audiology, hearing, study, aid, deafness, education, medical.
Locating funding to pay for expensive hearing aids or cochlear implants is worth the time involved. photo credit: Ben Taylor55 Audiology via photopin (license)

Texas Health and Human Services has incorporated links for different programs to help Texans pay for their hearing aids or cochlear implants, which may cost thousands of dollars. There are many programs available to adults wanting hearing support, including service members and veterans, people seeking work or studying, or people who have retired or are not working.

Veterans Programs for Hearing Aid Assistance

For active service members, TRICARE coverage will assist with hearing aids as long as the hearing loss is great enough.

For retired service members, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides assistance with hearing aids. As long as you have ten percent of any service-related disability, you should qualify. You may apply in person or online for VA health care.

Assistance for Working-Age Adults

Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services is the provider who assists people with disabilities who are preparing to work or are working.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission’s website, to qualify for services, you must be able to work, need services to help you do that, and have a disability which is a barrier to employment. Hearing loss and deafness are including in this group.

Diagram of a person and the cochlear implant in place.
A cochlear implant is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment available for hearing loss–usually deafness or near deafness–and involves major surgery. Exploring financial assistance options can save thousands of dollars. photo credit: Rfunderburk90 Ryan-Funderburk-1 via photopin (license)

To apply for services, you may apply at a Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services office, call 800-628-5115 for information, or send your questions via email to customers@twc.state.tx.us. The website cautions you to include your name, phone and address including city, state and ZIP code in your email, but not your Social Security Number or birth date.

If you quality, the rehabilitation office will send you to be evaluated by an approved audiologist who will assess your needs and report to them. After that, you may qualify for hearing aids, cochlear implants, or related equipment.

Programs for Older Texans

An older woman puts in a hearing aid.
As we age, the incidence of hearing loss and deafness increases. photo credit: http://www.ilmicrofono.it Senior woman with a hearing aid via photopin (license)

Several programs exist to support providing access for older Texans to get hearing aids or cochlear implants. For people who are 60 or older, the state has 28 area agencies on aging (called AAAs). You can contact staff via email or phone at the agency nearest you by using this list of offices across the state. These programs do consider your financial and minority status, and whether you live in a rural area.

Services for Texans not Using Vocational Services for Work

In 2016, Texas transitioned services for Independent Living to the state’s Centers for Independent Living. Scroll down this page and locate the one nearest you to learn about what supports and services they can provide you with in your area. The centers assist with a variety of needs beyond adaptive equipment, such as advocacy.

Nationwide Hearing Aid Payment Assistance

The Starkey Hearing Foundation has a program, Hear Now, for Americans with low incomes. People who meet their criteria are fitted with new hearing aids. Learn more or complete an application.

While your family may make too much money to qualify for other programs, the Audient Alliance for Accessible Hearing Health Care helps individuals acquire hearing aids at lower prices. Call or download their application form.

Community Organizations

Kiwanis, Lions Clubs, and Masons may have local branches that will fund hearing aids. Their website may not list the extent of what they do, so contact your local branch to learn more.

Other Assistive Listening Devices

While you wait to get hearing aids, there are other options to provide some hearing assistance, depending on your needs. Local stores that sell Made-for-TV products have fairly powerful hearing aids for around $20.

Williams Sound offers more advanced equipment for reasonable prices that may help you hear better at home, religious services, recreational events, in restaurants, at school, and anywhere you need to hear better.

Contact Us

Contact The Capsule Group Inc for more support in locating hearing aid or cochlear implant services.

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Songwriter Tell Future Child about Hearing Loss in a Song

Woman sings I won't hear you crying when you're born (captions)
Screenshot from Zoë Nutt’s video, “Like You.”

Singer, songwriter, and musician Zoë Nutt recently released a song, “Like You,” telling the story of her progressive hearing loss.

At the beginning of the Tennessee native’s open captioned official video, Nutt says, “I lost all of my hearing in my right ear. I now have progressive hearing loss in my left ear. Along with tinnitus, which is this high-pitched ringing that’s just there all the time.’

“That change in my life led me to write a song addressed to my children—whenever I have those children. And it basically says that no one will ever sound like you. Even if I can’t hear you…no one will ever be just the same.”

Woman plays guitar with captions And it basically just says that no one else will sound like you.
Screenshot of Zoë Nutt’s video, “Like You.”

According to an HLAA report, Nutt says, “But releasing this music video has been more than just a letter to a possible future. It’s most importantly the start of a conversation I’ve been longing to have with others. I am going deaf, but I will not let it stop me from making music.”

The song’s lyrics describe beauty and meaning beyond sound: “I won’t ever hear you say you love me / I’ll never know whether you can sing. / But I can’t wait to watch your lips speak wonders / ‘cause no one else will ever sound like you.”

100 percent of the artist’s tip proceeds from downloads of “Like You” at Noistrade will go to The Hearing Loss Association of America.

According to a review from Vents Magazine,”Nutt’s very deliberate vocal style never clashes with her effortless ability to convey sensitivity in every line. Like You, as a whole, is more than just one of the year’s best full length debuts. Instead, it heralds the arrival of a major new voice who will only follow an upward trajectory from here.”

You can order Nutt’s album on iTune’s or in physical CD here.

Download “Like You” for free here.

 

Styling Hair for People with Different Abilities

Planning ahead is a strategy that works for people of all abilities, and more so with people who have neurological disorders, wheelchairs, or hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Person gets hair cut by a person with tattoed arm and hair clips with scissors in their hands.
Hair stylists need different techniques to ensure all their customers get the royal treatment. photo credit: Stylist_Client-3 via photopin (license)

Cory Thomas, CEO/Founder of The Traveling Barbers “Hair Professionals For The Disabled,” was asked for some hair styling tips for people with neurological disorders in a recent article. This included clients who used wheelchairs.

He said, “Make sure the wheelchair are properly locked” and “Guard against flying hairs” by wrapping fabric around the wheelchair.

“Clippers shouldn’t be as sharp as they would be when working in an conventional barbershop or salon, so as to not hurt or bruise the client’s head from any sudden quick motions that may take place with someone who has a neurological disorder,” he said.

Going for simpler, “traditional” hairstyles and making sure clients are seeing familiar faces round out his suggestions.

A blogger for the Say What Club blog gave advice for styling hair for those who use hearing aids or other wearable equipment, such as cochlear implants. “We talked about their haircut/hairstyle before they took their aids off. After that, I made sure to face them while talking a little slower, if I asked more questions.”

With careful planning, a visit to a hair stylist can be a treasure for people with different abilities.

Can Music Help with Meniere’s,Vertigo?

After Glenn Schweitzer was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. His blog, Mind over Meniere’s, shares information about how to cope with the disease’s side effects.

Picture showing brain waves.
Can music ease the symptoms of some diseases? Some say yes. photo credit: занято Img1-01 (5) [S1237A0,00A0,00H2986H2203S4] via photopin (license)
“Meniere’s disease is a terrible illness with not enough good information available. So much of what’s out there filled me with hopelessness and dread. My goal is to show you that there is so much hope,” Schweitzer said in his blog.

Something unique on his website is a project with music designed to assist people with their symptoms.

According to the website, “The Symptom Relief Project is a collection of special mind-altering audio tracks designed to help relieve some of the worst symptoms of Meniere’s disease: Vertigo, Brain Fog, Fatigue, Morning Grogginess, and Stress/Anxiety.

A combination of sounds helps to influence our brainwaves and help us feel better, according to the website.

Listen to a vertigo reliever sample music pack.

What is CART?

CART, or Communication Access Realtime Translation, is a way for people who are Hard of Hearing or Deaf to receive communication information, especially when they don’t prefer or know sign language.

This might occur when the person who is Hard of Hearing or Deaf lost their hearing later in life, or if their family chose for them to attend mainstreamed schools where the opportunity to learn sign language may not have been provided.

According to the National Court Reporters Association, CART is “a way to transcribe the spoken word into readable English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer, and realtime software.”

Picture of a person typing on a shorthand typewriter, or stenograph.
The CART provider uses tools that require natural ability and technical skill. photo credit: Playing Chords via photopin (license)

Their equipment is similar to the court reporter’s, with a stenotype machine that types shorthand so that they can record the natural pace of speech closely.

“CART is also referred to as realtime captioning or live-event captioning,” according to the association. During captioning, a CART provider types text that appears on a computer screen or on a projected screen or other display.

The CART provider types all environmental sounds for the person, serving the same purpose as hearing. For example, if a phone rings while a professor is speaking, the CART provider might insert “[phone ringing]” into the transcript, while also typing what the professor says.

To provide this accuracy, certified CART providers must type between 180-225 words a minute, according to the association. They must also understand and use the technology needed to provide CART in live settings, including computers, software, projectors and other equipment they need.

According to a Houston Chronicle article , typing over 120 words per minute is considered highly proficient and the fastest typist on record typed 212 words a minute.

Talent combined with technology makes the certified CART provider one of the fastest and most accurate conveyors of communication.

Transcripts from the captions may be requested from CART providers, usually for an additional fee, since transcripts may require the provider to review the content and make slight corrections as needed for a polished product.

Some businesses that use CART for employees request a copy as an internal record of their meeting, a perk from providing accommodations.Sign Shares boat logo with blue hands

Do you need a live or remote CART provider for an event, class, meeting, or other auditory experience? Request CART from Sign Shares here.