9 ways to save on hearing aid costs

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In Spanish | Listen to this: Almost one in four people aged 65 to 74 and one in two over the age of 75 have a crippling hearing loss. Yet only 16% of those under 69 who could benefit from hearing aids use them – and less than 1 in 3 in 70 years. Why ? The cost can be a big reason. Hearing aids tend to be expensive and are often not covered by health insurance plans. As a result, many people choose to do without the devices.

Hearing loss is not only uncomfortable – and sometimes dangerous – but can seriously affect your health in other ways as well. To stay safe and healthy, try these nine tips to help you manage your hearing loss without paying a heavy price.

1. Take the tour

With a wide variety of devices, services, and prices available, you need to know the scenery before you buy. Technology and services (like testing, education, fitting, and follow-up exams) are the biggest cost drivers, according to Tom Powers, an expert consultant in audiology with the Hearing Industries Association (HIA). Surveys have found that device prices, based on both technology and services, range from $ 1,604 for an entry-level hearing aid to $ 2,063 for a mid-level hearing aid to $ 2,651. for a high level option, he says.

Features that may increase the price include size (is it visible?), Charging (many hearing aids no longer rely on batteries but are charged like cell phones), better directional microphones, more channels for sound. noise reduction and feedback suppression; and wireless or Bluetooth connectivity. On the low end is big box retailer Costco, which currently buys and sells a pair of hearing aids for $ 1,400. But some people may need more comprehensive testing, aftercare, and specialty products than what Costco offers.

2. Know what options are included in the price

Four key questions to ask when considering a hearing aid supplier:

a. Is there a payment, subscription or rental plan who distributes the financial burden over time? The Whisper.ai, for example, uses a subscription model, so users pay $ 139 per month and get periodic software upgrades, says Kim Cavitt, an audiologist from Chicago.

b. What are the grouping options? On average, the hearing aid itself is only a third of the total cost, says HIA president Kate Carr. Some practitioners “bundle” the diagnosis, the hearing aid itself and the follow-up exams. But make sure you need all three before paying for them. If all you need is the device – say you’ve had an audiogram before and don’t need any follow-up visits – you can save money by going for an unbundled model.

vs. What is the warranty? Most hearing aids have it. Ask how long the warranty is, whether it covers maintenance and repairs, and whether the supplier provides loan aid during repair periods.

D. Is there a transparent return and refund policy? Most states require a minimum 30-day trial period for hearing aids.

3. If you have only mild to moderate hearing loss, consider waiting a year

You may have heard of the new over-the-counter hearing aids approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but they are not yet available in drugstores. Blame COVID-19: Under the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, the agency was due to issue guidelines last August for this new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, which will likely be cheaper. COVID has delayed those guidelines, but many experts expect the rules to be released next year, with OTC hearing aids to follow soon after. In the meantime, several state attorneys general have issued warnings about OTC devices that falsely claim to be “FDA approved.” They are not.

4. Consider purchasing hearing aids online or direct from consumers

It’s often a cheaper option and may work well for those who can’t see a hearing aid supplier because, for example, they live in a rural area or are disabled, Cavitt says. “The big players in the direct-to-consumer space are Lexie, Eargo and Lively … Some have online hearing testing capabilities … but most have telehealth capabilities,” so you talk to someone. one that walks you through the process, she adds. The wrong side? “Numerous [online or direct-to-consumer providers] don’t offer fitting services that tailor the fitting of devices to your specific hearing loss, ”Powers explains. “It can affect your ability to hear in background noise situations. “



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