Hearing aids can be expensive. It’s not unusual to pay over $1,500 for a pair of basic hearing aids, while devices incorporating the latest technological advancements can cost $6,000 or more per pair. Fortunately, you may be able to offset some of the cost with hearing aid insurance or other forms of financial assistance.
Your health insurance may cover hearing aids and related services. To get coverage details, call the customer service number on the back of your member insurance ID card. Ask the following questions to help understand your benefit and to find care.
Several states require insurance companies to cover hearing for children and/or adults.
Five states -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island -- mandate hearing aid coverage for both children and adults. The remaining 17 states mandate hearing aid coverage for children only:
In addition, Wisconsin mandated coverage for hearing aids and cochlear implants for children. To learn more about hearing aid insurance in these states and what you need to qualify for such coverage, visit the American Speech-Language-Meaning Association.
In addition to personal health coverage, large organizations sometimes negotiate with a list of preferred providers to offer discounted hearing aids. AARP offers a hearing care program for their members, and large companies may also offer some degree of hearing aid coverage as add-ons to their regular health insurance.
Depending on your income, you may qualify for assistance from a hearing aid bank, which is a nonprofit organization that provides or loans hearing aids and assistive hearing devices to people with low income and children.
While not hearing aids, free or low-cost assistive telephone listening equipment is available through state telephone equipment programs. You can search for such programs in your area through the Telephone Equipment Distribution Program Association.
Many non-profit groups at the national, state, and local level provide new or used hearing aids at discounts if you meet their financial criteria. Some of the larger organizations include:
A quick search for local hearing aid financial assistance on Google (search for “hearing aid financial assistance” with the name of your state or city) will often reveal non-profit groups you may not have considered.
If your hearing loss interferes with continued or future employment, contact your state vocational rehabilitation agency. They may be willing to provide hearing aid financial assistance to help you maintain or secure employment.
Children, generally, have more options for securing hearing care financial assistance than adults. They may qualify for free hearing aids or assistive hearing devices if their Individualized Education Program, or IEP, determines hearing impairment interferes with access to a free and appropriate education as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Talk to the school’s special needs counselor about the possibility.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, college students may be able to access free assistive listening devices from their university. Talk to your school’s disability counselor to see if you qualify for such assistance.
College students with hearing loss may also qualify for assistance from the same state vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide hearing aid financial assistance to workers who need assistive hearing devices to perform their jobs.
This trend will continue as awareness about the connection between hearing and overall health intensifies. This means more options will become available to help you get the hearing help you need, which will improve your quality of life--and you can’t put a price on that.
It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.