Hearing aid subsidies are not created equal in Canada. An investigation by the CBC has found that Manitoba is falling behind other provinces when it comes to subsidizing hearing aids for seniors who are not on income assistance. Eight Canadian provinces and territories provide some level of subsidy for hearing aids, which can cost anywhere from $1,500 to more than $8,000 for seniors who do not qualify for income assistance. In Manitoba, only those under 18 qualify for a payment of 80% of the cost.
Some Manitobans, like Veterans and aboriginal Canadians, are covered along with those on private insurance.
Seniors in other parts of Canada, such as Yukon and the Northwest Territories, start getting full coverage for hearing aids at age 60.
British Columbia offers a program called the Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative, in which seniors can apply for financial assistance, although advocates say eligibility is restrictive and seniors must be looking for work.
Albertans participate in a cost-sharing program where the savings can be up to $900 per hearing aid.
In Ontario, the Assistive Devices Program pays up to $500 per hearing aid for everyone, or $1,000 for a pair.
Saskatchewan offers a subsidized audiology clinic where the waiting times are long, but the savings on service could be up to $500.
In New Brunswick, the province is the payer of last resort but will cover hearing aids for those who qualify financially and have no other way of paying.
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