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Belgium, Press release ministry of Health: Those who have poor hearing gain faster access to a hearing implant.

September 03, 2019 by Webmaster EURO-CIU

BRUSSELS, 30/08/2019. - Minister of Health Maggie De Block makes cochlear implants accessible to more patients. Today, 329 Belgians receive such an implant from health care insurance each year. Thanks to the new repayment criteria, an estimated 362 will soon be added.

Minister De Block (Open Vld): “This is an important step forward. Such an implant can significantly improve the quality of life of many people. "

Cochlear implants are sophisticated electronic hearing aids for people with serious hearing damage who do not or insufficiently work with a traditional hearing aid. Today they are reimbursed for people who suffer from a minimum of 85 dB HL hearing loss in both ears and for whom a traditional hearing aid does not help.

Twice as many patients
Minister De Block is now lowering that threshold to 70 dB HL. As a result, more than twice as many people will be eligible for reimbursement. Under the current criteria, 329 patients are reimbursed for a cochlear implant per year. With the new criteria, an estimated 362 will be added.

For these people this means an important improvement. They could already have a cochlear implant implanted, but had to pay for it entirely from their own pocket. The cost price could amount to 20,000 euros. Thanks to the new regulation, this will soon change. The adjusted reimbursement criteria will come into effect at the end of this year.

New investigation
Currently, studies are also being conducted into the impact of a cochlear implant on children with unilateral hearing damage (hearing damage to one ear). If it appears that they will benefit, the repayment can be extended.