Over 48 million people (20 percent) living in the United States (according to the Hearing Loss Association of America) are affected by varying degrees of hearing loss, which can make communication difficult for these individuals. In some cases, adults with hearing loss face losing their job; children might not develop communication in a timely manner; and elderly individuals may become depressed and withdraw from society.
Ironically, most insurance companies cover the audiological test for hearing loss, but do not cover the cost of hearing aids. Most hearing aids run an average of $3,000 per pair, which can be cost-prohibitive to individuals living on fixed incomes.
Tennessee has one of the highest household poverty rates in the United States and many people in East Tennessee, with or without insurance, are unable to afford the hearing aids they need to in order to improve their quality of life.