Hearing aids are a simple way to improve the quality of life for seniors who are hard of hearing. About 33% of people ages 65 to 74 have some degree of hearing loss; the number jumps to 50% for those ages 75 and over.
Only about 16% of people who would benefit from hearing aids have ever used them according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. For many people, hearing aids are simply unaffordable. That may be changing, though, as new brands and new ways of buying hearing aids gain popularity. If you’re affected by hearing loss, here’s what you need to know to help you lower your hearing aid costs.
How Much Do
According to a survey by Consumer Reports, the average price for a single hearing aid was about $2,560 or $5,120 a pair. Buying hearing aids as a pair dropped the price per device to $2,340 or $4,680 for a pair. Most people—about 85%—buy hearing aids as a pair. Even though the average hearing aid price is over $2,500, it’s possible to get hearing aids for as little as $400 to $500 a pair. You may not get the highest level of technology at the lower price points, but depending on your lifestyle and type of hearing loss, you may not need all of the high-tech features.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Hearing Aids
Hearing Aid Features
Hearing aids are far more technologically advanced than even a decade ago. Some of today’s devices essentially function as smartphone headsets. You can take calls, stream music and podcasts, and even track health metrics with your hearing aids.
Those high-tech features are nice, but they drive up the cost of hearing aids. You can save money by choosing only the features you really need.
Most hearing aids have a combination of the following popular features:
Multiple channels to adjust the volume of certain frequencies, such as high-pitched or low-pitched sounds, based on your specific type of hearing loss
Directionality, which uses multiple directional microphones to focus on the sounds of people speaking to you
Speech enhancement to amplify spoken words in person, on television, and from other sources of audio
Feedback suppression to eliminate the whistles and whines that occasionally occur with hearing aid microphones
Wind suppression to automatically lower the volume of wind noise when users are active outdoors
Rechargeable batteries that provide up to 16 hours of use and eliminate the need for costly disposable batteries
Hearing aid features and level of technology have the greatest impact on price. The most technologically advanced hearing aids average about $2,700 each. Bypassing some of these high-tech features or opting for a previous generation of the more advanced models can drop hearing aid costs to around $1,000 or less.
Hearing Aids and Insurance
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover hearing aids, but many Medicare Advantage plans include benefits for hearing exams and hearing aids. There are also stand-alone hearing plans that help offset hearing aid costs. Insurance plans typically don’t cover the full cost of the devices. Most provide a discount or an allowance of $500 to $1,500 toward the purchase of hearing aids. Some insurance companies tie the allowance or discount to approved providers.
Other Hearing Aid Services
If you buy hearing aids from an audiologist, you pay for more than just the devices themselves. In addition to the cost of the hearing aids, you could be billed for the initial audiologist’s office visit, fittings and adjustments, follow-up appointments, and extended warranties.