Television for Hearing Impaired: FSA Eligibility

A television for a hearing impaired individual is eligible for reimbursement for those with a hearing impairment with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Television for hearing impaired reimbursement is not eligible with a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is a television for hearing impaired?

Individuals who are deaf or have experienced some form of hearing impairment will find it more difficult to enjoy certain forms of media, and this is certainly the case when watching a standard television. Even a form of mild hearing loss can make sounds emitting from a TV sounding muffled or far away, which is why a number of assistive listening devices (ALDs) have been developed to help make watching TV easier and more enjoyable.

ALDs are the primary means of ensuring that a television can be adapted for use by hearing impaired individuals, and these devices take on a few common forms:

  • Wireless Headphones: This is the best option for those who do not wear hearing aids but still experience some form of hearing impairment. These headphones make TV sounds clearer by blocking out background noises in the room and creating a wireless stream from the TV to the wearer's ears.
  • Wireless Hearing Aid Streaming: The vast majority of new hearing aids sold today are wireless, and many more now have the ability to communicate wirelessly wiht external devices like televisions and smartphones. Wireless hearing aid streaming is a new concept that varies from device to device, but often work through a Bluetooth connection, an FM frequency or intermediary device. This method can allow the user to directly harness the power of his/her hearing aid and dramatically improve their ability to hear when watching television.
  • Loop Systems: A loop system is a magnetic field that is placed around the room or in a personal neck loop that is worn around the listener's neck. This is connected to the TV's audio output and will pick up the sound emitting from the TV's speakers to transmit the audio wirelessly to a user's hearing aids. The overriding benefit of a loop system is that hearing aids do not need to be wireless for it to function and must only be compatible with a telecoil to function.

Eligibility Table

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Limited Care FSA Dependent Care FSA Health Savings Account (HSA) Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)

Eligible

Eligible with Rx

Eligible with LMN

Not Eligible

Legal Information / Regulations

Revenue Ruling 71-48

 


AZ-PROD-WEB01 11/19/2017 10:39:00 AM