Spanish families of the deaf call for universal reimbursement of hearing aid costs


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The Spanish Federation of Associations of Parents and Friends of the Deaf (FIAPAS) has called on health authorities to take advantage of a coming tax overhaul and review of laws regulating benefits for prosthetics users in order to extend reimbursements on hearing aid costs to all ages. Subsidees under current laws in Spain are limited to the under-16s which, says the families organisation, "constitutes an unsustainable judicial discrimination without any scientific foundation." FIAPAS is demanding that politicians find a solution to "the discrimination affecting deaf persons and their families." The group is applauding the decision to exclude hearing aids from recently introduced health copayment schemes, although these payments have been set up for many other prosthetic solutions. But FIAPAS wants the Spanish Ministry of Health to go further and increase cover for hearing aids, as well as the external part of cochlear implants, and it has put forward a proposal for interference in prices of this technology, something which would have a direct effect on hearing care professionals and their suppliers.

The group specifically calls on the government to "control the distribution of hearing prostheses (hearing aids and implants) by reducing their high cost in terms of both purchase price and maintenance (batteries, repairs, and renewal)". The group also asks for a possible new VAT hike not to be applied to these items. Relations between FIAPAS and Spanish state representatives was recently strengthened through a framework agreement to facilitate access to information in the Spanish Parliament (Congreso) by introducing technological aid for hearing (magnetic loop) and oral communication (subtitling).

Translation: P.W.

José Luis Fernández, editor in chief of Audio infos Spain