The Cost of Hearing Aids and How to Save

For today’s guest post on the cost of hearing aids, please welcome Josh from DoctEar.

As we age, many adults find they are having problems hearing. In fact, Sarah Sydlowski AuD. Ph.D., Audiology Director of the Hearing Implant Program at the Cleveland Clinic stated in an article she published that, “Approximately 17 percent of American adults (36 million) report some degree of hearing loss, a condition in which a person is partially or totally unable to hear in one or both ears.” The good news is that most people who suffer hearing loss can be helped by using small devices commonly known as hearing aids.

The cost of hearing aids causes some folks to delay using them, but some types are more affordable than others and there are ways to save. If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, it's important to look into hearing aids.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons people put off purchasing hearing aids, even after they notice they hear others speaking in an indiscernible mumble or misunderstand what is being said.

One reason for waiting may be the misconception of what it is like to be a hearing aid user. They believe that hearing devices are ugly and highly noticeable. However, hearing aid technology has improved tremendously in recent years, with devices becoming smaller, more sophisticated and easier to use.

Another important point is that it is vital to get your hearing checked immediately after you suspect you have a deficit. Getting an examination and then wearing hearing aids can prevent further hearing loss. Dr. Sydlowski stated on Cleveland Clinic’s website, “Research has taught us much about ‘auditory deprivation,’ which refers to the lack of appropriate stimulation to the hearing system. If someone has hearing loss that would benefit from the use of hearing aids but chooses not to pursue appropriate amplification, then the hearing system will not be perceiving all the sounds it used to perceive because it will not be receiving stimulation in the same way.”

There are many different models of hearing aids on the market today each having its own pros, cons, and prices. Below is a partial list of what’s out there. The quoted prices are estimated, and some models can be found at lower prices.

Types of Hearing Aids and Their Cost

In the Canal Hearing Aids

These appliances are custom-fitted and are inserted farther into the ear canal than other models. They come in several different styles and are completely invisible. They are wonderful for mild to moderate hearing loss. Some models have a small handle made of plastic to help when inserting and removing the appliance. The prices for these appliances can run as much as $2,000 each, which makes them impractical for many people.

Receiver in the Canal

This model of hearing aid is barely visible, with the receiver (speaker) inside the ear when worn. The earbud that fits inside the ear canal can be custom made. A thin wire connects the receiver to a small casing that is worn behind the ear. They are wonderful for moderate to severe hearing loss. The pricing on these aids are also around $1,800 each.

Both the In-Canal and Receiver in Canal hearing aids can be maintained by regularly using a hearing aid dehumidifier, which will contribute to a longer functional life of your hearing aid; this saves you money in the long-run, after your initial purchase.

A Streamer

This device includes a small base worn around the neck that when paired with a Bluetooth enabled device sends signals by way of an adapter inserted into the sending device, such as your cell phone, directly to the hearing aids. Although this is the cheapest option, (at around $100), it will have some extra costs involved with batteries, and there is a range limit on how far a streamer can maintain a signal with your sending device. They are wonderful for listening to a television or when speaking on a cell phone.

Ways to Save on Hearing Aids

Paul Dybala, Ph.D., president, Healthy Hearing in an article written in May 2017 stated, “They (hearing aids) can range from just shy of $1,000 on up to more than $4,000 for each device depending on the level of technology.”

However, don’t despair. If you need hearing aids there are many ways to help pay for them that won’t hurt your budget or cause you to lose sleep at night.

Insurance

Although many insurance policies, including Medicare and Medicaid, do not cover hearing aids, they do cover the cost of hearing tests. However, it doesn’t hurt to call your insurance carrier to check your coverage. If you are a member of AARP, they offer significant discounts for hearing aids when they are bought through approved retailers.

Shop Around

Shopping around can save you bundles of cash. Try to shop at local retailers, but also look online. There are hundreds of sites to choose from with varying savings on their hearing appliances. It is important to shop from a reputable retailer. You can check with the Better Business Bureau, which is highly recommended since hearing aids are a costly investment. Also, check to see if the site is secure before entering your credit card number. You can do this by looking at the URL of their site. See if it begins with the abbreviation https://. This means the site is secure.

Finance Your Hearing Aids

Some retailers offer plans that allow you to pay for your new hearing aids in payments spread out over time. On average, the cost of a set of hearing appliances is $4,800, which means payments may run around $80 per month.

Organizations Can Help

There are many service organizations that offer help in buying hearing appliances such as the Lions and Hearing Loss of America if you meet their income requirements.


Some folks have complaints after purchasing their new hearing appliances. The most common are that they can’t hear properly or that they are ill-fitting. These problems can be mitigated by having your hearing aid fitted and calibrated for your specific hearing difficulties by a qualified audiologist.

Hearing appliances improve the lives of millions of people around the world every day. Although the cost of using them may seem steep, the price of not buying them is both emotionally and physically much higher. There is no reason to live your life unable to understand the words of your loved ones, or losing what remaining hearing you have. So, don’t delay if you suspect you are having hearing problems, the answer is available and painless.

References

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/transcripts/1689_hearing-loss-and-the-latest-hearing-aid-technology
https://www.healthyhearing.com/help/hearing-aids/prices
https://www.starkey.com/improve-your-hearing/frequently-asked-questions/types-of-hearing-aids

Image courtesy of ReSound via CC 3.0 Unported (with changes)

About Josh from DoctEar

DoctEar cares about your ears and your hearing. Visit the website to learn more about hearing protection, hearing enhancement, the best products for your ears and how to take care of your ears in general. We feature content from industry professionals, such as OHSA and medical doctors. Take care of your ears!
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4 Comments

  1. I can’t recall if my in-laws are on a monthly plan or if they paid one time and get life-time support and supplies. I would not be keen on paying up front for ongoing service if I had any doubts the retailer would stay in business.

    Great information! Thanks Gary and Josh.

  2. When my parents told me how much their hearing aids cost, I nearly collapsed. Right now I’m 56 and my hearing is excellent. I also have an HSA with $14K in it. So by the time I need hearing aids, I should have the money to pay for them. Got my fingers crossed, anyway. Thank you, Josh, for a very informative post. Cheers.

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