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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 20 - 26  > JCP Daimon demands creation of state program to subsidize purchase of hearing aids
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2019 March 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

JCP Daimon demands creation of state program to subsidize purchase of hearing aids

March 21, 2019

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Daimon Mikishi on March 20 at a meeting of the House of Councilors Financial Affairs Committee urged the government to create a program to provide financial support to the elderly who suffer from age-related hearing loss for the purchase of hearing aids.

Daimon said that in Japan, which is experiencing a growing aging population, more and more elderly people have difficulties in their daily work and lives due to presbycusis. However, he went on to say that as hearing aids cost 150,000 yen on average, many elderly with hearing problems are demanding financial support.

Daimon pointed out that hearing impairment in older people is commonly known to cause not only the deterioration of their quality of life but also mental problems, such as depression and dementia. He said that Hyogo Prefecture and many other local governments as well as civil organizations supporting disabled people are calling on the national government to introduce a subsidy program to help the elderly purchase hearing aids.

Daimon stressed that the percentage of hearing aid users in Japan is much lower than that in the U.S. and European nations where hearing problems are designated as a medical matter and thus covered by subsidy programs. He said that in Japan, hearing aids are regarded not as a medical device for all who need it but as a supportive device solely for persons with disabilities, and thus only a small percentage of hearing impaired are eligible for financial help from the state.

Daimon said, “A hearing aid is a device which is essential for elderly persons with a hearing loss to keep working and remain active in society. The government should examine what measures needs to be implemented to properly deal with this health issue.”

In reply, a Welfare Ministry official said that the ministry will promote scientific research on how wearing hearing aids can help older people maintain their cognitive ability. Finance Minister Aso Taro said that what Daimon said is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Past related articles:
> Public subsidy for expensive hearing aids needed [March 18, 2019]

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