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The cost of hearing aids depends on factors like brand and included features. Pricing can fall anywhere from $900 to over $6,000 for a set of hearing aids.
Hearing aids are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated medical devices that are worn in or behind the ear. They can be expensive. On average, a set of hearing aids may cost anywhere from $900 to over $6,000.
Hearing aids vary significantly in cost, but this doesn’t always reflect their overall effectiveness. Like most things that we want to fit to our bodies, what works for one person may not work for another.
In some instances, more expensive hearing aids may come with high end features, such as Bluetooth wireless connectivity or tinnitus masking.
Smaller hearing aids such as completely-in-canal (CIC) or in-the-canal (ITC) devices tend to have higher price tags. For example, the Eargo 7 hearing aid is $2,950 for a pair, while a pair of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids from MDHearing costs $1,199.98.
If you buy directly from an audiologist, pricing may also be higher to factor in hearing aid customization and fitting.
Types of hearing aids
There are several styles of hearing aids:
- in the ear (ITE)
No matter how they’re worn, each style has the same basic parts and works in a similar way.
A set of hearing aids may cost anywhere from $900 to over $6,000. They are meant to last for years with maintenance.
The full cost of hearing aids may include services and add-ons. This common practice is called bundling or bundled pricing.
Bundled pricing vs. unbundled
Bundled hearing aid costs include services such as:
- a hearing test
- consultation with a hearing professional
- fitting and adjustments as needed
- hearing aid cleanings
- a warranty that may include a one-time replacement of hearing aids
When hearing aids are unbundled, you have the ability to pick and choose the line items you wish to buy. This may reduce your overall cost.
Your location and healthcare professionals
Other factors that affect the price of hearing aids include your state of residence and hearing aid dispenser (audiologist).
Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving. The newest hearing aids on the market are better than ever at clarifying sound. Some even have advanced features like artificial intelligence, Bluetooth connectivity, and features that help mask tinnitus.
That said, basic options are available for a lower cost if you’re on a budget. At a lower price point, you can expect less customization, limited fine-tuning, and the need for manual adjustments.
But that doesn’t mean you should settle for a low quality product. Even affordable hearing aids come in options with:
- wireless functionality, allowing two hearing aids to work together without a wire
- directional microphones, which enhance sounds in front of the hearing aid wearer
- noise reduction, by analyzing the sound signal and reducing background noise and static for better sound quality
In 2015, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology compiled a report on hearing technologies. This report identified several factors that escalate the cost of hearing aids. These factors include:
- lack of health insurance
- improved innovations in technology but not reduced consumer costs
- bundling of costs associated with hearing aids (discussed in detail below)
- manufacturing and sales practices, plus state regulations that inhibit consumers from cost-comparison shopping. These sales practices pertain, in part, to hearing aid dispensers who work with just a few handpicked manufacturers. When this happens, you may not be offered a complete range of hearing aid brands or models, including those that are budget priced.
Hearing aid manufacturers may also have a very high markup on their base costs, which include parts, manufacturing, and employee salaries. These costs are built into the price of hearing aids.
In some instances, the high cost of hearing aids may be a barrier to getting them. To address this issue, the FDA has added a new category of affordable, easily accessible over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids to what’s currently available. These often cost less than prescription hearing aids.
OTC hearing aids are different from personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), which only amplify sound. They function the same way prescription hearing aids do, but they don’t require an audiogram or fitting. They’re designed with a maximum output feature that limits volume to a specified decibel. This is intended to reduce or eliminate ear injuries caused by oversimplification.
However, it’s important to note that OTC hearing aids are suitable for
OTC hearing aids cost around $200–$3,000 per pair. That’s less than half the cost of prescription hearing aids, on average.
There are many online retailers that sell hearing aids at a reduced cost. Some manufacturers sell their own devices, too. Most online retailers are able to work with an existing copy of your audiogram (hearing prescription), and some provide free online hearing tests or phone consultations with a specialist.
You can find OTC hearing aids online at:
Other online hearing aids retailers include:
Price: $1,995–$1,795 per pair
In addition to selling headphones, Jabra (formerly Lively) also sells its own brand of app-connected hearing aids online, including ITE and BTE models.
You can take a free hearing test on the Jabra website to determine your level of hearing loss and which product might be right for you.
Hearing aids will come with 3 years of follow-up care and a 100-day, risk-free guarantee.
Price: $1,650–$2,950 per pair
Eargo sells hearing aids directly to consumers online. Eargo’s CIC hearing aids are self-fitting and don’t require an audiogram. Through the Eargo app, you can personalize your hearing aids for different sound environments, such as windy outdoor areas and noisy indoor settings.
A free Eargo hearing screening can be accessed online.
These hearing aids are nearly invisible in the ear and come with a 45-day, risk-free guarantee.
Costco Hearing Aid Centers provide hearing services and devices to Costco members. In addition to selling brands like Phonak and Philips, Costco also has its own Kirkland Signature brand of hearing aids.
You can find many different hearing aid styles at Costco, including BTE, CIC, ITE, and ITC models.
Costco offers free follow-ups for hearing aid clients. This includes free cleanings and fittings. Most devices also come with a generous 180-day trial.
The downside is that you need to be a Costco member to shop at the center.
|Jabra||yes||• free and online||• hearing aid connects to app|
• 3 years of care
• 100-day, risk-free guarantee
|Eargo||no, self-fitting||• free and online||• can personalize aids for sound by environment through app|
• 45-day, risk-free trial
|Costco Hearing Aids||depends on the model||• free, but in store|
• need to be a member
|• free follow-ups and cleanings for clients|
• 180-day trial period
Very few insurance plans cover the full cost of hearing aids. Some insurers provide partial coverage.
Here’s what you might ask when calling your insurance company to ask about coverage:
- Does my plan cover hearing aids?
- Does my plan include a stipend for the purchase of hearing aids? If yes, is the stipend per ear?
- Is coverage only through certain professionals? Which ones? Can you send me a list of approved professionals in my area?
- Can I use my stipend or claim a benefit for any kind of hearing aid? Or is coverage only for specific models?
- Is there anything else I need to know about coverage eligibility (e.g., does the degree of hearing loss play a role in coverage amount)?
Never buy hearing aids assuming your insurance will cover them. Most insurance companies require you to go through a process before filing a medical device claim, including getting a cost estimate, before they can guarantee any kind of coverage.
- OTC hearing aids: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you may be able to use OTC hearing aids rather than prescription ones. OTC hearing aids are often cheaper than prescription hearing aids.
- Deals at some stores: Many people report getting better-than-expected deals through wholesale clubs and at big-box stores.
- Online stores: Online retailers may also provide cost savings by cutting out the middle person and showcasing a large variety of models and brands for you to choose between.
- Certain Medicare coverage: If you know you need hearing aids and are eligible for Medicare, shop for a Part C plan that covers the cost or partial cost of hearing aids.
- HSA or FSA, with insurance coverage: If you currently have a high deductible health insurance plan, you may be able to benefit from using a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) so you can pay for your hearing aids with pretax dollars.
- Ask for the itemized breakdown of costs: Ask your hearing aid dispenser to give you the unbundled breakdown of costs for your hearing aids. If there are items you feel you do not need, do not buy them.
- Choosing basic models: Eliminate expensive bells and whistles, such as Bluetooth capability and voice recognition.
- Clubs, organizations, or associations you may be part of: Check to see whether organizations you belong to, such as your school’s alumni club, provide discounts on hearing aids.
- Insights from healthcare professionals: If cost is a barrier, talk with your doctor, nurse, or audiologist. They may be able to identify affordable hearing aids that are priced within your budget. They also may be able to point you toward leasing options that allow you to make low monthly payments rather than paying the whole sum up front.
Some hearing aid manufacturers provide payment plans that allow you to make monthly payments over a set amount of time, such as 1 year.
Be wary of healthcare credit cards. These may have terms that make it hard to manage or to pay back, such as interest rates that change and are high.
Organizations like Help America Hear work with people of all ages who have limited resources.
Untreated hearing loss can have severe effects on quality of life, especially in older adults. A
Untreated hearing loss can make it difficult to interact with others, causing people to isolate themselves socially.
Loss of hearing can also contribute to increased stress levels and depression. In older adults, hearing loss may increase the risk of dementia, according to a
Using hearing aids can help people maintain independence. Since they eliminate a barrier to effective communication, hearing aids can enhance the social lives of people with hearing issues. They can also restore simple pleasures, like listening to music.
It’s important to visit an audiologist for a hearing test at the first signs of hearing loss.
Some forms of hearing loss happen because of underlying conditions. For example, some neurological conditions can cause hearing loss, which an audiologist can help pinpoint. Getting a hearing aid won’t necessarily treat these underlying issues.
An audiologist is also qualified to set you up with the best hearing aid option for your needs. They can even customize devices to your specific form and degree of hearing loss.
Does Medicare cover the cost of hearing aids?
No. Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids. Medicare Advantage C plans may provide some coverage, but it’s unlikely.
Can you buy just one hearing aid?
Yes! Most retailers allow users to buy hearing aid devices in singles or pairs.
Are hearing aids tax deductible?
According to the IRS, you can only deduct medical expenses, such as hearing aids, if they surpass 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
How long do hearing aids last?
Most manufacturers claim their hearing aids will last on average about 3–7 years. This can vary depending on use.
Hearing aids are FDA-approved medical devices designed to improve hearing in people with hearing loss.
Hearing aids can be very expensive. Many, if not most, health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids. Neither does original Medicare.
There are strategies for reducing the cost of hearing aids. Financing and payment plan options may be available. You can also purchase hearing aids over the counter.
In some instances, your audiologist may be able to help you identify hearing aids that are affordable for you.