Hearing loss is a common problem among older Americans, affecting 25% of people aged 65 to 74 and half of those over 75. Less than 20% of seniors who need hearing aids have them, and cost is a primary reason why.
Hearing loss is an uncomfortable and dangerous condition that can affect your life in many ways. To improve health and well-being, try these tips after learning how much are hearing aids.
Compare Prices and Options
With a range of prices, services, and devices available, seniors should learn about their options before purchasing hearing aids. Services such as hearing tests, fittings, and follow-up care increase the cost of hearing aids and features like rechargeability and size can make them more expensive, too.
Know What’s Included
When considering the purchase of hearing aids, ask these questions:
- Are payment plans available? Financing and leasing lessen the financial burden by spreading hearing aid costs over time.
- Are hearing tests and follow-ups included in the price?The device itself accounts for about one-third of the cost of a hearing aid, with hearing tests and follow-up care making up the other two-thirds. If you just need the device and have already had a hearing test, you may be able to save money.
- Is there a warranty?Most of today’s hearing aids come with warranties. Ask about coverage limitations, length, and exclusions when purchasing hearing aids.
- What’s the refund and return policy?Most states have 30-day trial periods for hearing aids.
By asking these questions and carefully considering the answers, you’ll know what to expect and how much you’ll pay for hearing aids.
Look for Online and Direct Sales
For those who are disabled and seniors who live in rural areas, online and direct-to-consumer hearing aids are a viable option. Some providers offer online hearing tests and telehealth services, which offer valuable guidance.
Over-the-counter or OTC hearing aids are another option. They’ve recently been approved by the FDA, but they’re not available in stores yet. The Food and Drug Administration has released guidelines for OTC devices, which will likely cost less than prescription models.
Look for a Medicare Supplement Plan
Medicare Part A, or basic Medicare, doesn’t pay for hearing aids. Hearing loss is linked to dementia, isolation, and depression, which has led some members of Congress to push for changes in coverage. To cut the cost of hearing aids, ask about Medicare Advantage plans that offer supplemental coverage.
Get Covered by the State
Every state has different Medicaid terms, but most cover hearing aids. Check with the state agency that addresses Medicaid coverage.
Find Local Help
Various agencies, including the Lions Club, collect and distribute recycled and reused hearing aids. In some places, seniors can also find help through the Kiwanis Club or the Area Agency on Aging.
Work With a National Charity
Several charities, including the Miracle-Ear Foundation, The Hearing Aid Project, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, help those who can’t work hearing aids into their budgets. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders may also be able to help.
Get Help if You’re a Veteran
One-third of service members end up with significant hearing loss. To get help with hearing aids, you’ll need to enroll in the VA Health Benefits program. Call, go online, or visit the nearest VA office for details.
Cut the Cost of Hearing Aids
While hearing aids are expensive, there are ways to keep costs under control. By comparing costs, looking for cheaper options, and working with a charity, a state agency, or the VA, you may be able to save on the assistive devices you need.