5 questions on hearing aids costs, answered by our experts

Author: EarPros team

It’s always relevant to remember some key facts: 1/3 of people over 65 worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss. Hearing loss can cause social isolation, fear, and recent research suggests it may also cause some cognitive disorders like Dementia. You and those you love will have a better quality of life if you wear a hearing aid and are able to hear more. The best advice we can give is to find out if you need a hearing aid having your hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional.

Why hearing aids are expensive?

Hearing aids today are medical devices that are governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A large percentage of the cost is due to the amount of research and development needed to continually improve the technology that powers your hearing aid. Each year over $500 million dollars are spent by the hearing industry to make hearing aids smaller, more powerful, and more natural sounding. The R&D process involves electrical engineers, sound engineers, audiologists, computer engineers, programmers, and more. Next is the cost of professional services. Just like any medical device the professional is the key to proper fitting. In order to receive the proper amount of benefit from hearing aids, they must be fit by a professionally trained audiologist or hearing aid specialist. These healthcare providers will spend 3–6 hours on each patient for the hearing exam, evaluation, fitting, programing and follow-up services. Plus, the cost of maintaining an office, paying staff, the cost of advertising, and more. Unlike consumer electronic devices, hearing aids are often customized to ensure they correct your specific hearing issues and meet your comfort preferences and lifestyle requirements. They are also constructed for maximum quality and durability so they can keep working at peak performance for years to come.

Are there additional costs besides the hearing aids?

Today bundling of hearing aid cost is what most individuals will find. This means that all items, services associated with the evaluation, fitting, warranty and management of a hearing aid as well as its related goods. Batteries are an on-going expense; however, batteries are relatively inexpensive. Semi-annual check-ups are also recommended to monitor your hearing loss, and to provide maintenance and cleaning of your hearing aids to keep them at peak performance.  

Will hearing aids be covered by insurance?

Hearing aids are generally not covered by medical insurance, though insurers sometimes offer optional hearing/vision/dental plans that may include coverage for hearing tests and hearing aid fittings.  Medicare does not usually cover hearing aids. You may have some options depending if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicaid coverage for hearing aids varies by state and eligibility is subject to change.

How often will my hearing aids need to be repaired?

A hearing aid will require some degree of service each year, which is why hearing aids are sold with warranties and repair coverage. Variables like usage, care, and even your lifestyle are another important factor. Due to their position inside your ear or behind it, hearing aids are exposed to environmental factors including: humidity, earwax, moisture, and debris. Each of those factors can adversely affect the performance of hearing aids. It is difficult to predict how often a hearing aid may need to be repaired, however, regular cleaning, routine maintenance and diligent care will go a long way to drastically reduce the number of repairs they may need.

Can I buy used hearing aids?

Used or rebuilt (refurbished) hearing aids can be sold, and hearing aids can sometimes be re-purposed to fit another wearer's hearing loss requirements.  The FDA requires all used/rebuilt models meet the same regulations as the sale of new hearing aids. Some states have specific rules governing the sale of used hearing aids by audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. Depending on the type of hearing aid, a hearing care professional will need to evaluate the hearing aids to determine whether the technology will work for you. Also, the warranty period is generally limited with used or refurbished hearing aids.