Assistive Products Are Helping Those with Disabilities Find Work, but Challenges Remain

May 30, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Assistive products, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, are enabling some people with disabilities to work, but environmental, societal, and personal factors create additional barriers to employment, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. An expert committee analyzed the impact of wheeled mobility devices, upper-extremity prostheses, hearing aids, and speech technology on mitigating the effects of impairments in the workplace. The report found that data on the prevalence of assistive products are limited, making it difficult to fully measure their impact on employment. However, they still could draw some conclusions. For one, financial access to these devices varies from state to state and between urban and rural areas, representing a barrier to achieving optimal gainful employment among people with disabilities. The committee also found a gap in coverage and disability models.

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