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06/12/2024 05:13 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2024 04:06 PM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: Hearing Aid Test for School Bus Drivers
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to eliminate multiple hearing aid tests for school bus drivers.

Under PennDOT’s current regulations, a school bus driver with a hearing aid is required to pass two types of hearing tests. First, a standard hearing test while wearing a hearing aid. Second, the hearing aid itself must undergo an electroacoustic analysis test to ensure that the hearing aid is functioning according to the manufacturer’s standards. This second electroacoustic analysis test is problematic as it requires the audiologist to have software specific to the brand of the hearing aid, which not all audiologists have.  Since there are many brands of hearing aids, it can be difficult for school bus drivers to find medical professionals to approve their hearing aids, which can cause them to forego their school bus endorsement. Additionally, as hearing aids become more advanced, some audiologists claim the electroacoustic analysis test is becoming obsolete.

This electroacoustic analysis test is unnecessary and redundant; if a person wearing a hearing aid can pass a hearing test, their hearing aid is obviously functioning properly. To address this, my legislation simply eliminates the hearing aid electroacoustic analysis test requirement for school bus drivers. The legislation would require school bus drivers with hearing aids to pass a hearing test that demonstrates their ability to meet PennDOT’s minimum hearing standards.  

Many school bus drivers are retired individuals, and due to there already being a shortage of drivers in Pennsylvania, this regulatory barrier to entry for school bus drivers should not continue. My legislation would lessen the burden on school bus drivers with hearing aids alongside audiologists who would no longer have to go through the cumbersome process to administer this hearing aid test.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation that will help to lessen the regulatory burden on our school bus drivers.

Introduced as HB2203