Hearing aid program cut sparks family frustration
Published Monday, April 3, 2017 8:33PM CST
A Saskatoon family has started a petition urging the government to keep the Saskatchewan hearing aid program.
The provincial government announced in its budget the hearing aid program will be axed, except for those who qualify as low income.
According to the government, ending the public program will save $3 million.
The hearing aid program provides hearing aids, fittings and tests for the hearing impaired.
Thirteen-year-old Mary-Jayne Morris relies on the program for subsidized hearing aids.
“I feel so frustrated, where am I going to go?” Morris says.
Under the public program, the Morris family pays $1,000 per year for hearing aids.
But Mary-Jayne’s hearing aids could cost upwards of $5,000 under the private sector.
The higher expense is putting her family in a tough financial decision: soccer or hearing aids.
“So what’s more important to us, Mary-Jayne to practice soccer or her hearing aids? It’s a no brainer,” Peter Morris, Mary-Jayne’s father, says.
And it’s not just a financial burden, Mary Jayne says she’s anxious over how quick private hearing clinics will deal with repairs.
“If one of my hearing aids doesn’t work in the public hearing aid program, they’ll send me a loaner hearing aid. But in the private clinic, they don’t,” Mary-Jayne says.
Peter says he won’t let her daughter go weeks without her hearing during repairs, and would consider moving to a different province.
“The last thing we want to do is move from Saskatchewan. But at the end of the day, if my daughter isn’t getting the service that she needs, we’ll consider moving to a province that can provide the cochlear services that we need,” Peter says.
The hearing aid program is set to end on July 1.