Problem Hearing rehabilitation with hearing aids is a complex process which requires professional expertise and the involvement of audiologists or hearing-care specialists. Professional care, however, requires extra resources, making it tempting to rely solely on technology and reduce the role of professional counselling. Approach To reduce the out-of-pocket share for adults needing hearing rehabilitation, in 2011 the Israeli government tripled the subsidy for adult hearing aids by converting 3 years of subsidies into a triennial, enlarged fund. Regulations for providing hearing rehabilitation and a set of rules for tenders for the supply of hearing aids were issued. Local setting Auditory diagnosis and rehabilitation are included in the Israeli national health insurance system. Before 2011, the annual government-funded subsidy for hearing aids was negligible; hearing aids were expensive and bought mostly with patients’ own resources. Relevant changes A series of tenders for companies to supply hearing aids, aiming to control public and individual expenses, resulted in a large reduction in prices, which in turn raised the demand for hearing aids and increased public expenditure. As the price of hearing aids fell markedly, hearing rehabilitation is approaching a point of becoming limited to supplying hearing devices, while reducing the importance placed on professional elements of the rehabilitation course. Lessons learnt Lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients should not be the only consideration in hearing rehabilitation. Our goal should be to control public expenditure but also provide affordable hearing aids with sufficient intervention of hearing-care specialists, to ensure access to advanced technologies and proper professional care.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Competing interests: Both authors are senior audiologists in managerial posi- tions and employees in a company that supplies hearing aids. In addition, both authors are board members (volunteers) of the Israeli Speech, Hearing and Language Association. The authors were not supported or funded by any organization or fund.
© 2022, World Health Organization. All rights reserved.
- Hearing Aids
- Hearing Loss/diagnosis
- Hearing Tests
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health