Hearing Aids

4 FEB 2013

QUESTION NO. 891

Name of Person: Er Dr Lee Bee Wah

 

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many elderly Singaporeans are currently suffering from hearing impairment and have sought treatment at Government clinics as compared to three years ago; (b) how many of them require a basic hearing aid; (c) what is the average cost of a hearing aid; and (d) whether the Government will review the use of Medisave to pay for these hearing aids.

 

ANSWER

1    In 2012, our hospitals attended to about 8,600 seniors for audiometry tests or hearing loss evaluation, as compared to about 6,800 cases in 2010. Of the 8,600 seniors, about 1,500 or 17% of these seniors needed a hearing aid and went through a hearing aid evaluation test. About 800 seniors eventually took up the use of hearing aids.

2    The cost of a hearing aid varies but averages around $1,000 to $1,500. Medisave coverage does not extend to the purchase of hearing aid because Medisave is primarily meant to support large hospitalisation bills. We need to be careful not to over expand the use of Medisave so that Singaporeans will still have enough in their Medisave to cover their hospitalisation expenses. To help the low income elderly, the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL) has a Special Assistance Fund that provides subsidy for such hearing aids.

3    We are reviewing our policies to better support the elderly as our population ages.

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