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Hearing loss in Dubai: How to cover its costs

In Dubai, we make good use of our senses on a daily basis: We see the beautiful architecture of the Burj Khalifa. We feel the sun, sand, and water on our skin as we enjoy the Emirate’s beaches. We smell and taste delicious local dishes like stuffed camel and shawarma. And, last but not least, we hear the sounds of bustling, dynamic city life, and traditional Arabic music come holiday time.

It can be easy to take our senses, and all of the great feelings they provide us for granted. Once a person starts to lose one of their senses, though, something taken for granted can quickly become the focus of their day-to-day lives. People in Dubai that have lost their sense of hearing only know this too well.

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Hearing loss is a common feature of getting older, but nothing can really prepare you for the loss of such a critical sense at any age. Here, Pacific Prime Dubai discusses the topic of hearing loss in Dubai, with statistics and information on treatment and covering its costs. Read on to find out more.

Hearing loss in Dubai

How many people in Dubai suffer from significant hearing loss? Well, if a Gulf News article from January 2017 is to be believed, about 1 out of every 25 people you meet in Dubai, and the larger UAE in general, is actually hearing impaired – meaning that they are partially or completely deaf.

There is said to be a stigma surrounding those suffering from hearing loss in the UAE. The anticipated judgment and potential ridicule that many Dubai residents feel they would be subject to as a result of admitting to being hearing impaired are certainly strong motivators. Unfortunately, what they have motivated many people to do is ignore their hearing issues and eschew any notion that they should seek help for them. This effect is so pronounced that an article in The National from February 2017 states that 40% of UAE residents put off acting on their hearing loss, while only 25% seek treatment immediately.

Now, there is something to be said in these cases when it comes to the development of hearing loss. A doctor quoted in the article mentioned that people who have a sudden loss of hearing will tend to seek immediate help, while people who lose their hearing more gradually are the ones most likely to put off seeking a doctor. Wait times mentioned ranged anywhere between six months to ten years! The thing is, putting off treatment for hearing loss can result in irreparable damage, while seeking help immediately can lead to positive treatment outcomes.

Despite everyone’s hopes and wishes, in most cases hearing problems will not simply ‘go away’. It’s true that some hearing loss may be caused by relatively benign causes like wax buildup or water in the ear, but there are much more serious potential causes that dictate that the cause of a person’s hearing loss should be determined sooner rather than later.

Treatment options
There have been some pleasant recent developments in the world of Dubai hearing loss. The UAE’s Ministry of Health has been negotiating with insurers in the hopes of being able to provide hearing impaired children in the country with cochlear implants, which are hearing aids surgically implanted in a patient’s head that can enable them to hear once again. Normally, such implants can cost over AED 150,000! If successful, this arrangement would be available to mothers that do not have insurance (more on insurance coverage for hearing loss later.)

This is surely welcome news to some in the UAE, but what about older people that need treatment? Where can they turn for help in Dubai?

Never fear! There is perhaps no better place to seek out medical care in the Middle East than Dubai. Excellent doctors and hearing loss treatments can be found at a number of clinics across the Emirate, including:

Contacting any one of these facilities can get you started down the right path to hearing loss treatment, but there still remains the issue of cost. Again, the costs of treating hearing loss can be substantial, and beyond the ability of some to pay for out of pocket. Can insurance address these costs?

Addressing costs

First of all, we know that everyone in Dubai should now be covered by health insurance due to 2014’s Health Insurance Law of Dubai coming into force. How do the legal regulations apply to treatment for hearing loss, though? This is an interesting case, because, while covering specialist diagnostics and testing is part of the outpatient coverage required by law, it also specifically excludes “costs associated with hearing tests”, as well as hearing aids. The one exception for this is when hearing aids are needed during a medical emergency, in which case the law requires coverage subject to a 20% co-insurance payment from the patient.

To be clear here, these requirements only stipulate the absolute minimum level of acceptable coverage that a health insurance plan in Dubai must provide. Plans that provide this low level of coverage in Dubai are known as Essential Benefits Plans.

So while the cheapest Essential Benefits Plans in the Emirate are unlikely to cover the diagnosis of hearing loss, and the cost of hearing aids, there are certainly plans on the market that will provide such coverage, though the cost will likely be higher.

Another aspect of covering the costs of hearing loss to consider is pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are a common feature of health insurance policies that state that they will not provide benefits to cover certain conditions that were present in the policyholder prior to them purchasing the policy. In other words, if you want to guarantee that an insurance policy covers any potential hearing loss that you may develop over time, you will need to have the plan in place prior to being diagnosed for it.

Thus, securing a private health insurance plan for purposes of having hearing loss covered should be done as soon as possible. If an insurance provider finds out that a policyholder was suffering from hearing loss prior to securing their policy, any such claims may be denied.

Contact us

Clearly, hearing loss is an issue for many in Dubai, but there is hope for restoring the hearing of even the most tragic cases. That said, receiving the best available treatment for hearing loss requires going to the best medical facilities available, which tend to come with the highest price tags. With this in mind, those who want to be covered for any potential hearing loss treatment would do well to secure a comprehensive private health insurance policy today.

Finding the best health insurance policy for covering hearing loss can be a tricky task, as this type of criteria is not one that insurance brokers typically use when comparing plans. Fortunately, the experienced insurance advisors at Pacific Prime Dubai are ready to go above and beyond to track down the ideal plan for your specific needs. Just contact us today to provide a few details, and our consultants will quickly provide you with a comparison of plans from top insurers that have the best benefits for treating hearing loss. What’s more, they will also provide you with a price quotation absolutely free of charge.

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