Press Release: Governor Larry Hogan Signs House Bill 596
Governor Larry Hogan Signs Bill Expanding Access to Hearing Aid Loan Bank
Bill Gives Children Under 18 the Ability to Participate in the Hearing Aid Loan Bank Program
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today signed into law House Bill 596, which alters the age of eligibility from 3 years old to 17 and under to participate in the Hearing Aid Loan Bank Program operated by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Maryland Hearing Aid Loan Bank was initially created to provide infants and toddlers up to the age of 3 immediate access to hearing aids following confirmation of hearing loss by an audiologist. The passage of HB 596 will now give additional families the same access.
“I want to thank Governor Hogan for signing this bill, which provides families and educators an additional tool to end the language deprivation that affects far too many Deaf and hard of hearing children,” said Kelby Brick, director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing.
Data has consistently shown that, compared to their hearing peers exposed to only English, Deaf and hard of hearing children’s early exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) results in strong English speech skills and better vocabulary and reading skills. The expansion of the hearing aid loan program in conjunction with exposure to ASL will provide parents and educators the necessary tools to support language development.
About the Governor’s Office of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
The Governor’s Office of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing advocates for and promotes the general welfare of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Maryland by addressing policy gaps, providing expertise related to Deaf and hard of hearing issues, and facilitating access to resources and services.