5 Min

How To Save on Hearing Aids

While hearing aids are beneficial for those experiencing hearing loss, they're also expensive. Learn more about financing options for hearing aids!

Nicole Brener
Author:
Nicole Brener
How To Save on Hearing Aids

While hearing aids are highly beneficial for those experiencing hearing loss, they're also quite expensive. 

A pair of prescription hearing aids costs between $2,000 and $7,000, while over-the-counter options are generally less than $1,000. This is just one barrier to receiving the care people with hearing loss need.

The good news is that you have a range of options and resources for saving money on hearing aids. 

This article will empower you with knowledge about alternatives such as government assistance programs, nonprofit organizations, and tax savings accounts, helping you find cost-effective ways of getting the hearing aids you need.

The Real Cost of Hearing Aids

It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide live with some degree of hearing loss, which is about 20% of the global population. So, if you're experiencing hearing loss symptoms, remember you're not alone.

Hearing aids have evolved into highly reliable hearing devices, but what's the real cost of getting hearing aids?

In-the-canal (ITC) or completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are more expensive than behind-the-ear designs. Rechargeable, Bluetooth-enabled devices and those equipped with AI capabilities also have a higher price point.

In addition to the hearing aids, you may need a medical exam with an audiologist, fitting, programming, and adjustments, which can add to the total cost. Depending on where you purchase them, some of these costs are bundled together with the purchase of your hearing aids. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a more affordable option than prescription ones. Some of the most inexpensive models of OTC hearing aids cost around $99 for a pair. While most cost between $500 and $1,000 per pair, it's reassuring to know that there are options that won't break the bank.

There’s also the “hidden cost” of owning hearing aids. Maintenance costs, hearing aid batteries (if your device is not rechargeable), tunings, accessories, and repairs can all add up. For these reasons, it is wise to consider financial assistance options to help lessen the burden. 

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Financial Assistance Programs for Hearing Aids

Let’s look at the available programs to make hearing aids affordable and accessible.

Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. However, some Medicare Advantage plans include hearing aid coverage as supplemental benefits, including the cost of hearing tests, fittings, and repairs. Medicare Advantage plans cap hearing coverage limit costs to $960 per year, but the range can be from $66 to $4,000.

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you become eligible for Medicare, whether when you turn 65 or qualify based on a disability. Evaluating your options before deciding that the Medicare Advantage plan is the best for you is important.

Employer Health Plan

Check the insurance provided by your employer, as it may include hearing aid coverage. Depending on your plan's benefits, you may need to meet a deductible, co-pay, or cover exceeding costs. If you have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, you have access to out-of-network benefits, meaning you can choose a hearing health provider outside of your insurance’s network. 

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Children’s Health Insurance programs that are Medicaid expansions cover screening, diagnostic, and treatment services called the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, a Medicaid benefit for children. This includes services like speech and language therapies and hearing screenings, and 95% cover hearing aids.

TRICARE

TRICARE is a government-managed healthcare program for the U.S. military, including active-duty service members and their families. TRICARE covers hearing aids if you have a hearing loss that meets certain criteria. Dependents of active-duty members may also qualify for coverage if hearing loss significantly impacts their quality of life or daily functioning. 

It’s important to check with TRICARE to understand your specific eligibility. 

VA Healthcare

Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare qualify for hearing tests and clinically-justified hearing aids.

Worker’s Compensation

If your hearing loss directly results from your job, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation. Coverage and policies vary by state and employer, so it is important to consult beforehand.

Private Health Insurance

Policies are commonly region-specific, so it is recommended that you check your plan coverage details or call your insurance company and ask for more information. You may find that your plan covers some amount, so it’s worth doing your homework.

Medicaid

Medicaid programs vary by state and may offer hearing aid services to eligible individuals.

Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Some prescription and OTC hearing aids are eligible to pay using FSA/HSA funds.

Financing Options

Financing options with flexible payment plans can make hearing aids more affordable. Some options include Healthcare Credit Cards with zero or low-interest fees or financing companies like PayPal Credit and Ally.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services 

Federal and state programs may provide funding for hearing aids to eligible individuals. Check your state’s local policies to find a list of resources. Additionally, vocational rehabilitation services can potentially help with obtaining hearing aids. These services often offer assessments, counseling, and financial assistance to support your employment goals and improve your quality of life. 

Non Profit Organizations

The best advice for seeking help from non-profit organizations is to research local entities that support the deaf or hard-of-hearing population, such as The Hear NOW program, The Miracle-Ear Foundation, The Foundation for Sight & Sound, and many more. The HLAA is a good resource for finding these organizations.

Tax Deductions

Great news! Hearing aids qualify as a medical expense, which means you can deduct the cost of your hearing aids from your tax return. However, you must itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. This includes costs for hearing aids, batteries, repairs, and maintenance.

The Takeaway

If you need hearing aids and the thing that’s stopping you is financial expenses, there are many programs that may be able to help you. Check with your health insurance, ask about your Medicaid policy, seek nonprofit organizations that can provide discounted services and look at over-the-counter hearing aids that provide more accessible options. 

Nicole Brener

Copywriter based in Miami, FL. Leads copywriting workshops and mentors women entrepreneurs at the Idea Center of Miami Dade College.

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