Helsinki, 3rd of March 2018
On the World Hearing Day, the European Federation of Parents of Hearing Impaired Children reminds that European children and young people with a hearing disability should have access to free and proper hearing aids with no limit of age.
The European Federation of Parents of Hearing Impaired Children (FEPEDA)reminds that five every one thousand babies born in the European Union have a hearing loss. Many of them wear hearing aids, which allow them to have access to hearing, to information and to oral communication.
Hearing aids are assistive devices, which have been shown as one of the most efficient ways to equal participation for more than 51 million of European citizens with a hearing loss.
However, in most of European Union countries, access to hearing aids implies an additional economical obstacle for people with a hearing disability and their families.
In most of the States, the public system only provides public funding for hearing aids to children and very young people, limitation by age which has no justification. In addition, in most of the cases, this public funding only covers partially the cost of the hearing aid (between 10% and 50% of the cost of hearing aids). However, in some other Member States, persons with a hearing disability have free access to hearing aids, with no limitation by age.
For all these reasons, FEPEDA insists on adopting national legislation for assuring the right of all persons with a hearing loss to have access to free hearing aids, including batteries and spare parts, with no discrimination by age. Hearing aids should be of high quality and adapted to the concrete needs of each person irrespectively of if it is unilateral or bilateral hearing loss.
Only then, EU and Member States will fulfil the obligations stated in the International Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, of promoting and defending the rights of citizens with disabilities. In particular, article 26 establishes that states: Parties shall promote the availability, knowledge and use of assistive devices and technologies, designed for persons with disabilities, as they relate to habilitation and rehabilitation.
FEPEDA, established in 1990, is the main platform of representation of families with deaf and hard of hearing children in Europe.