Texas: Guide to Hearing Loss

Texas is what a lot of foreigners think of when they think of America, the state has the second largest economy in the US, with a GDP similar to the UK and a landmass larger than any country in Europe.

Does their audiology healthcare meet the expectations of such a high performing state? Find out below.

How many test centers are in Texas?

Texas is known for its size, so it would make sense that there are a ton of resources for your hearing healthcare needs. The number of test centers in a state is a good indicator of how much importance they place on hearing health, and in a state like Texas these will be more concentrated in the big cities. 

884 hearing aid centers
Source: www.usahearingcenters.com/texas

As you can see, Texas is loaded with audiological care. The bigger your city or town, the higher chance of being within reach of a hearing specialist, but you’ll never be too far away from one either way.

Cities with the best hearing healthcare

We've looked at the largest cities in Texas to understand how covered the residents are, comparing the population size with the number of hearing aid centers and audiologists based there.

CityPopulationAudiologists & Hearing CentersCenters (per 100,000)
Houston2,325,5021124.8
San Antonio1,532,233805.2
Dallas1,345,047473.5
Austin964,254575.9
Fort Worth895,008323.6

Source: https://www.texas-demographics.com/cities_by_population
Source: https://www.usahearingcenters.com/search-hearing-loss-by-city.html

The Capital, Austin, has the best ratio of Audiologists/Hearing Centers with almost 6 per 100,000 of the population, something you'd expect from the capital.

Dallas and Fort Worth however don't perform as well, close geographically to each other with similar number of centers at only 3.5 and 3.6 per 100,000 respectively.

What government support do I have?

Medicaid in Texas covers hearing aids quite extensively. The only thing you’ll need is prior authorization, which won’t be a problem for anyone with legitimate hearing loss.

An estimated 3.8 million Texans have hearing loss
Source: www.hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/deaf-hard-hearing/deaf-hard-hearing-faqs

But what if you don’t fall under the qualifications for Medicaid? You might still be in luck. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you may be entitled to hearing aids covered up to $1000 every 3 years.

Is there a hearing aid trial period?

In Texas, providers must allow a thirty-day trial period in order for the user to determine if they're satisfied with the their hearing aid under the Medicaid Program. This trial consists of thirty consecutive days from the day your hearing aid is issued. Your provider should inform you of the date that the trial period ends.

If you're unhappy with your hearing aid during this trial period you can go back to your provider and, where medically necessary, get issued another hearing aid. At this point, the trial period will refresh and the thirty day period will start again.

Fees for returning hearing aids

If you do return your hearing aid during the trial period you may be charged a fee. Under Medicaid this is up to a maximum of $2 per day. This rental fee is not covered by the Texas Medicaid Program and therefore you will be responsible for payment.

What support do my children have?

Also under the ACA, an infant hearing screening is covered as a state required benefit under Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 2, Subtitle B, Ch. 47.

There is also some Medicaid coverage offered for children of families with a lower income from birth up to 18 years old.

Screening requirements for children in Texas

Who must be screened When screening must be done
- 4-years-old by September 1
- Kindergartners
- Any other first-time entrants
(4 years* through 12th grade)
Within 120 days of admission
1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th graders
Anytime within the school year
(preferably within first semester)

Source: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vhs/require.shtm

Child hearing support options: 

  • Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Families can qualify if they earn up to 200% of the poverty level, but they must re-apply every 6 months.
  • Medicaid: Children from birth up to to 21 years old who are on Medicaid.
  • Miracle Ear Children's Foundation: For children 16 and under. To qualify, a family of 4 must have a gross income between $20,000-45,000, they must be a U.S. citizen, and have a current audiogram and medical release.
  • Public schools: As part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools may be responsible for services.

Source: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/disability/deaf-hard-hearing/hearing-aid-information

What doctoral programs are available in Texas?

If you're looking for somewhere in Texas to study the workings of the ear, there are a record five universities with listed audiology courses. These are:

  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • University of North Texas
  • Lamar University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Texas at Dallas

Support for military veterans

Hearing healthcare support for veterans is nationwide, with 170 centers nationwide and 8 in Texas you’ll be able to find coverage.

Our guide on VA hearing aids goes into more detail about the support you have available.

How can I get my hearing tested?

A hearing test is the first step towards better hearing health and you can get tested for free in your local area by filling in this form. You'll see a qualified hearing consultant who will run a series of tests to determine if you have any hearing loss, and if you do, show you the best options moving forward.

Read our guide on what to expect from a hearing test find out more about details, know what to bring with you and how long a hearing test might take.

Overall

Texas has great coverage for hearing loss for both children and adults. Children under 18 are covered for 1 hearing aid every 3 years with a health benefit plan providing coverage for the cost of hearing aids and related services and supplies.

With over 884 test centers or audiologists in the state, wherever you're based there'll be someone close by who can help you take the next step in improving your hearing.

Duncan Lambden

Duncan Lambden

Writer

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Everyday Hearing has the most up-to-date content.

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