Sen. Zorn, Miss Michigan introduce bill to help children with hearing loss

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LANSING—Sen. Dale Zorn and Miss Michigan KT Maviglia announced legislation on Wednesday to help ensure all Michigan children up to age 21 can get necessary hearing devices.

“It was an honor to have Miss Michigan KT Maviglia of Dundee at the Capitol to raise awareness of hearing loss among children and help launch our effort to ensure they can get a life-changing hearing device,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “It is estimated that 30 of every 1,000 students are struggling with hearing impairment, and even a mild hearing loss can cause a student to miss as much as half of classroom discussion and instruction. This measure is about ensuring that all Michigan students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in school and in life.”

Under Zorn’s legislation, hearing aids would be required to be covered under a child’s health insurance. The coverage would give a child new hearing devices for both ears at least every three years until they turn age 21.

Maviglia was crowned Miss Michigan in 2014 with a platform focused on advocating for children with hearing loss and later founded the KT Maviglia Fund for Hearing. She was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age nine and has two hearing aids.

“The cost of a hearing aid should never be a factor in a child’s education, and it is my hope that with this bill, no other children will have to go through the same struggle I did,” Maviglia said. “With each year that students cannot afford a hearing device, they fall farther and farther behind and have to work twice as hard to make up for their impairments. I am pleased to work with Senator Zorn on this legislation to help Michigan students reach their dreams.”

Zorn said that providing hearing assistance is the right thing to do and also the financially responsible way to address this issue.

“Research shows that early intervention can allow a child to maximize their language and speech and provide a lifetime savings of about $1 million per person,” Zorn said. “Hearing aids can be expensive, but the cost of inaction to our society, our schools and especially to our children is much more.”

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Editor’s Note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting Zorn’s website at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.