Hearing aids help people who’ve experienced hearing loss enjoy a better quality of life — but the devices can be expensive.
The average price of one hearing aid is $2,300. Most people need two, doubling the cost. If your health insurer doesn’t offer coverage, you’ll want to have enough money in savings or a good cash-back credit card to cover the expense.
The total cost depends on the type of hearing aid, its features and the level of professional services.
Typically, the hearing aid itself makes up only one-third of the total cost; professional fees and services account for the rest.
Some consumers turn to online retailers and buy the devices themselves, rather than by going through a health care professional. While this can lower the cost, you won’t get the same level of service and expertise.
Benefit of professional services
Obtaining a hearing aid through a health care professional offers important advantages. For instance, the device fee usually covers a hearing test, consultation, fitting, follow-up adjustments, routine cleanings, and a warranty on the device. Certain health providers also throw in hearing-aid batteries.
You’re unlikely to get this level of personalized care when you purchase through an online retailer. Knowing the extent of these services is important when comparing costs between providers.
Types of hearing aids
There are a variety of hearing aids, which vary in price. Common types include:
- Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC): This type sits far in the canal so that it is almost invisible.
- In-the-canal (ITC): These custom-fit devices sit in the ear canal but are visible from the outside.
- Completely-in-canal (CIC): This sits far in the canal with a small “handle” visible.
- In-the-ear (ITE): This fits in the outer portion of the ear.
- Behind the ear (BTE): This hearing device sits in a casing behind the ear.
Hearing aid features
Shoppers often have choices about fancy extras available in hearing aids. For example, you may be offered wireless technology that lets you connect your hearing aid to a wireless device, such as a smartphone. Feedback cancellation helps eliminate buzzing and whistling feedback.
Many high-end hearing aids include these features and others, but wearers can expect to pay more for them.
Paying for hearing aids
Check with your insurance provider to see if hearing aids are a covered benefit. Twenty states currently require full or partial hearing aid coverage for children, but only four — Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island — mandate coverage for adults.
If you’re a veteran, check with the local VA office to see if you qualify for hearing aid benefits. The VA is the largest purchaser and provider of hearing aids in the U.S. Also, check for state or local charity programs that offer financial assistance for hearing aids.
Hearing aids can be costly, but the improvement in the quality of life makes them a worthwhile expense. Consider features and payment options that can help make hearing aids more affordable.