Facts about Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Wisconsin

  • Hospitals in Wisconsin screen newborns before discharge for early detection of hearing loss. One major purpose of this program is to identify children so that they can receive early intervention.
  • In 2007, there were 95 newborn babies in Wisconsin identified as having hearing loss through the newborn hearing screening test. There are approximately 200 children who are identified as deaf or hard of hearing annually.
  • Insurance companies are not required to pay for hearing aids or cochlear implants for children who need them.
    • According to a survey conducted by the Wisconsin Families for Hands & Voices, 54% of the parents surveyed did not have insurance that covered any of the cost of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
    • The average out of pocket expense for hearing aids for families with no insurance coverage was $4,100.
    • Families who had partial coverage of hearing aids paid an average out of pocket expense of $3,727.
  • Families in Wisconsin are struggling to pay for hearing aids and cochlear implants for their children. The result is that some families are going into debt, and some children are significantly delayed in receiving intervention or simply do not receive the appropriate intervention at all.
  • Intervention through hearing aids or cochlear implants can allow a child to maximize their language and speech.
  • It costs far more in the long-run to educate and support individuals who do not receive appropriate early intervention than to provide it as soon as possible.
  • Research shows that early intervention can provide a savings of between $5,000 - $10,000 per child per year in reduced or eliminated special education services . And over a lifetime, early intervention can reach a savings of about 1 million dollars per person .
  • Wisconsin State Employees already have coverage under the state healthcare plan.
  • Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Mexico all have laws that require insurance coverage for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • * This fact sheet was created by Disability Rights Wisconsin in conjunction with Wisconsin Families for Hands & Voices.