Senator Warren issued a press release today highlighting her comments delivered yesterday during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee in support of the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act. At the conclusion of her remarks, both Chairman Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Chair Crapo (R-ID) expressed their interest in working to advance this legislation. Excerpts from Senator Warren’s comments provide:
“There is substantial research linking hearing health with mental health,” said Senator Warren. “If we are working to strengthen support for seniors’ mental health and mental acuity, then we should include access to health care aimed at treating hearing and balance disorders.” This matters because adequate care for hearing loss is an important part of supporting our seniors. There is substantial research linking hearing health with mental health.
- Untreated hearing loss has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and social isolation.
- Studies also suggest that hearing loss may be one of the greatest risk factors for developing dementia.
- Seniors with hearing loss experience cognitive decline up to 40 percent faster than those with normal hearing, and
- Older adults with moderate or severe hearing loss are three and five times more likely, respectively, to develop dementia.
If we are working to strengthen support for seniors’ mental health and mental acuity, then we should include access to health care aimed at treating hearing and balance disorders. I am going to withdraw my amendment because it does not meet the germaneness standard that the Committee has adopted for this mark-up, but Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, I’m asking for your commitment to work with me and Senator Grassley to advance this common-sense, bipartisan bill in future legislation.
Senator Wyden (Chair) Excerpt: You’re spot on and the answer is yes and Senator Crapo has indicated to me and I will let him speak that he wants to work with us too.
Senator Crapo (Ranking Member): Definitely. As I mentioned yesterday when we spoke, I completely agree with your observations about the need to deal with this issue. I look forward to working with you to see if we can get this done.
ICYMI: Senator Warren Secures Commitments on Hearing Health and Medicare Advantage Priorities During Senate Finance Committee Markup of Health Care Package | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
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