Last December, Deb Wiese bought hearing aids for her parents, one for each of them. She ordered them online from a big-box retailer and paid $719 for the pair. But her parents, in their 80s and retired from farming in central Minnesota, couldn’t figure out how to adjust the volume or change the batteries. They soon set them aside.
“Technology is not only unfamiliar but unwelcome” to her parents, Wiese said. “I don’t know what the answer is for people like that.”
A bill introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March could make it easier for her parents and millions like them to get assistance. It would allow Medicare to pay audiologists to teach beneficiaries how to adjust to and use their hearing aids as well as how to manage communication with other people, among other things.