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HearUSA Rolls Out AARP Hearing Care Program Nationwide

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 General News J E 4
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., May 12 HearUSA, Inc. (NYSE Amex: EAR), a leader among the nation's hearing care providers, has begun to roll out the AARP Hearing Care program across the country following the successful introduction of the program in nine states.

The AARP Hearing Care Program from HearUSA is available exclusively to AARP members and is designed to help the millions of Americans age 50 and over who suffer from hearing loss. While 95 percent of Americans with hearing loss could be successfully treated with hearing aids, only about 22 percent (6.35 million) currently use them, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.

The AARP Hearing Care Program from HearUSA gives AARP members access to a nationwide network of credentialed healthcare providers, who can help them manage their condition through rehabilitation and ongoing consultation. Additionally, the program makes available discounts on state-of-the-art hearing aid technology; extended warranties; and battery supplies.

"We are very excited to be able to announce the beginning of the national launch of this program," said Stephen Hansbrough, CEO and chairman of HearUSA. "Only about one in four Americans who could benefit from hearing amplification currently choose to do so. We believe that this program will change that for the better."

The program was introduced on a limited test basis to all HearUSA company-owned hearing care centers and the company's network of affiliated professional hearing care providers in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. After a successful pilot offering, the program's expansion into an additional 24 states will be completed by the end of this year.

By the end of 2011, HearUSA expects the program will be available to AARP members in all 50 states and the U.S. territories through a nationwide network of more than 3,500 credentialed hearing care providers.

"As baby boomers age, many will face hearing loss that can be improved simply by using a hearing aid. It is critical, however, that products and services made available to AARP members reflect exceptional quality and value," said David Mathis, senior vice president, Health Products and Services at AARP Services, Inc. "In an independent survey of 268 members during the Hearing Care Program Pilot, all respondents said they were satisfied with the HearUSA program and gave the program a score of 90 percent or higher, so we are pleased that HearUSA will now begin to make it available to AARP members across the country."

Dr. Cindy Beyer, audiologist and HearUSA senior vice president, said "The AARP Hearing Care Program from HearUSA has been designed to address the concerns and confusion that prevent so many older Americans from receiving proper treatment for their hearing loss."

The Challenges of Hearing Loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, there is a strong relationship between age and hearing loss. While hearing impairment is prevalent in 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, some 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old and 47 percent of adults 75 years or older suffer from significant hearing loss.

The Hearing Loss Association of America reports:

"Beyond the statistics, it's important to recognize the impact of untreated hearing loss on one's quality of life and how proper hearing can improve so many aspects of our daily lives," Beyer said. "Studies show that hearing aids can improve personal income, increase intimacy and warmth in family relationships, encourage social participation, and provide a better sense of control over life events and one's physical health."

For a detailed description of the AARP Hearing Care Program from HearUSA, go to www.hearusa.com/aarp.

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About AARP Services Inc.

AARP Services Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight of the wide range of products and services that carry the AARP name and are made available by independent providers as benefits to AARP's millions of members. The provider offers currently span health products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services; legal services; and long-term care insurance. AARP Services also engages in new product development activities for AARP and provides certain consulting services to outside companies. In 2005, AARP Services founded AARP Financial Inc., a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary that manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight for the financial products that carry the AARP name, including credit cards, auto and home, mobile home and motorcycle insurance, and life insurance and annuities. AARP Financial also provides access to proprietary investment products and services, including mutual funds and financial guidance, designed to meet the needs of investors at any life stage.

About HearUSA

HearUSA is the recognized leader in hearing care for the nation's top managed care organizations through its network of more than 2,000 hearing care providers, including 178 company-owned locations. HearUSA is the nation's only hearing care network accredited by URAC, an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation. For more information about HearUSA visit www.hearusa.com, or go to www.hearingshop.com for a wide selection of hearing related products available for purchase online.

-- 36 million Americans (one in every 10) have hearing loss.

SOURCE HearUSA
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