New Jersey Department of Human Services Marks Better Hearing and Speech Month by Raising Awareness & Improving Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Assistive Device Demonstration Center in Hamilton Also Opened to Public
May 17, 2018
(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Human Services on Thursday announced improvements to its services for the deaf and hard of hearing as it marks Better Hearing and Speech Month. About 850,000 New Jersey residents have varying degrees of hearing loss ranging from mild to profound. This includes individuals who are born deaf and people who encounter late-stage hearing loss.
In promoting this special month, Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson unveiled improvements to the NJ Hearing Aid Project that the Department’s Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing coordinates.
The New Jersey DHS Hearing Aid Project provides free refurbished hearing aids to residents over the age of 65 with low incomes. Used aids are donated to the program and reconditioned to meet the needs of the consumer. At last month’s Advisory Council Meeting, Johnson said that reimbursement for audiologists participating in the program and dispensing hearing aids to low-income individuals was increasing from $150 to $300.
“Some older New Jerseyans with hearing loss are not able to afford the cost of a hearing aid,” Johnson said. “Our Hearing Aid Project is an important program to help meet these needs and we hope that this policy change will allow additional audiologists to participate and create easier access for residents with lower incomes to obtain hearing aids.”
Marvin H. Schaab, president of the Hearing Loss Association of America’s New Jersey Chapter, said this is a step in the right direction that will “ultimately result in more people with hearing loss receiving hearing aids, a vital need in this state.”
DHS’s Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing also announced that the Assistive Device Demonstration Center will be opened to the public.
The center is located at the division’s office at 11A Quakerbridge Plaza in Hamilton. On Wednesday, members of the community and DHS Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira attended the opening event where a live demonstration on the latest technology for people with hearing loss was presented.
The public can contact the division at 609-588-2648 or Ddhh.Communications2@dhs.state.nj.us to schedule a visit.
Consumers, providers and the community-at-large can experience a hands-on demonstration of the items available.
Through the Division’s Equipment Distribution Program some of this equipment is available for free to residents with lower incomes.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides education, advocacy and direct services to eliminate barriers and promote increased accessibility to programs, services, and information routinely available to the state’s general population. The division maintains up-to-date and constructive resources on hearing loss including communication access referral services, technical assistance, equipment distribution, stakeholder communications and advocacy.
The Assistive Device Demonstration Center displays assistive communication devices for people with hearing loss. The devices on display include videophones, smoke detectors, weather alert systems, captioned and amplified phones, a baby cry alert and other technology to alert people with hearing loss. This also includes practical devices for home and office, such as door bells, alarm clocks and amplified sound systems. The center also offers hands-on demonstrations so that consumers can make informed decisions before purchasing such devices.