The Aging and Disability Services Division of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services recently began offering free hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers to eligible residents 60 and over.
The distribution of these devices will be conducted by Access HEARS, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect individuals with hearing loss.
Devices will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Funds for the program come from the Federal American Rescue Act. Residents interested in receiving hearing aids may apply online via the Access HEARS website or by calling 410-929-0394.
“Our partnership with Access HEARS reflects our commitment to ensuring the well-being and inclusivity of our residents who are 60 and over,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Hearing loss has a significant impact on individuals’ quality of life. This program will help bridge the gap and make hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers more accessible to those who may face financial barriers. We appreciate and are grateful to the County’s Congressional delegation for funding this program. If you, or someone you know, is in need of one of these devices, please consider utilizing this program while supplies last.”
Through this program, 400 over-the-counter hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) will be distributed. Eligible individuals must be Montgomery County residents age 60 and over with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss and an annual income below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Individuals earning less than $36,450 and couples earning less than $49,300 qualify to participate. Participants must provide proof of age, residence, and income.
Over-the-counter hearing aids debuted on the U.S. market in 2022. While hearing aids are now more accessible than ever, significant barriers exist to navigating the market and the devices themselves. The average cost to purchase an over-the-counter device is $220, which can be prohibitive for seniors on fixed or low incomes.
Founded by physicians and leading hearing experts, and entrepreneurs at Johns Hopkins University, Access HEARS delivers services directly to the community, offering its clients a low-cost, in-person, or virtual service delivery.
Access HEARS staff also teaches individuals how to use over-the-counter hearing aids with the goal of supporting their healthy aging and continued engagement with family and community. Clients receive ongoing support throughout the first 12 months to ensure their success.