How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Hearing Aids

Hearing loss can be frustrating and isolating. You can’t participate fully in life when you can’t hear what’s going on around you.

Fortunately, technology has transformed hearing aids. The newest contain microcomputers to deliver accurate sound and comfort without the kind of aggravating feedback problems common in older models.

At the high end, hearing aids can be costly, but many people get satisfaction with midrange or budget hearing aids, and relatively cheap sound amplifiers can help people with mild hearing loss.

Here is how to shop wisely.

Getting evaluated

First, get a medical examination, preferably by a board-certified ear, nose and throat physician (ENT).

This exam should determine whether your hearing problem can be medically treated before you spend thousands of dollars on hearing aids. Workplace insurance may cover the exam. Medicare Part B insurance covers diagnostic hearing exams ordered by a doctor but does not cover routine hearing tests, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids. (Here are the rules, at Medicare.gov.)

If your doctor recommends you pursue hearing aids, the next step is a hearing evaluation. This is a thorough assessment of your hearing by an audiologist or a hearing-aid dispenser who is credentialed in your state to measure hearing, fit hearing aids and sell them.

What they recommend will depend in part on what type of hearing loss you have. Costs vary, but expect to pay around $150 to $225 for the evaluation, according to the University of Texas‘ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

Because these are such costly products, deal only with reputable professionals. Check dealers’ names against records of complaints at your local or state consumer protection agency (find it here at USA.gov), state attorney general’s office, state licensing agency or the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. You can find certified audiologists, credentialed professionals trained in evaluating hearing and fitting hearing aids in your area at the ASHA website.

Shop smart to cut costs

Hearing aids are costly. Respondents to a Consumer Reports survey paid $2,691 out of pocket on average for a pair.

When shopping for hearing aids, follow these tips:

  • If you feel sales pressure, leave and shop elsewhere.
  • Look for hearing aids with trial periods of 30 to 60 days.
  • Find out how much money you’ll get back if you return the product during the trial period.
  • Get all promises and guarantees written into your purchase agreement.

Other ways to hold down cost include:

1. Shop online. If you are comfortable shopping online for something as individualized as a hearing aid, it can be a path to serious savings.

In a major departure from tradition, many global manufacturers are now embracing direct-to-consumer online sales, according to AARP. That can help trim costs.

2. Negotiate. If you are shopping in person, be sure to ask for a better deal. Nearly half of the 14% of Consumer Reports survey respondents who asked for a discount were successful.

Also, compare prices at warehouse sellers such as Costco. They tend to have competitive prices, and some have on-site audiologists.

3. Consider analog. Digital hearing aids tend to be more expensive, but they are not always better. Ask your seller to show you comparable analog units.

Ask for the manufacturer’s technical specifications for both models and compare the maximum amplification (shown in decibel levels or dB) for each.

4. Try a personal amplification device. Advances in Bluetooth and other technologies are giving a boost to “personal sound amplification products” or PSAPs (or “sound-enhancers” or “personal listening devices”). Like hearing aids, these relatively inexpensive devices fit in your ear to amplify sound. You can program your own settings through a Bluetooth app.

Note, however, that PSAPs are not hearing aids. They work for people without serious hearing loss who just want things a bit louder.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson, with 50% hearing loss in one ear, uses a $350 PSAP called the Sidekick. He likes it for watching TV. His wife likes it, too, because he can turn up the volume for himself without affecting her.

“I have never used a hearing aid, so I can’t compare,” Stacy says. But if you think a PSAP might help, why not try one before spending thousands of dollars out of pocket on hearing aids?

Where to get help covering costs

Some organizations and insurance plans will help with costs under certain circumstances. Here’s a rundown:

  • Medicare: No coverage for hearing aids, although your evaluation may be covered with a doctor’s order.
  • Medical insurance: Most insurers don’t cover hearing aids, but there are exceptions so check your policy. And some states require insurers to provide adults with hearing aid coverage.
  • Lower-income assistance: Some states cover hearing aids for Medicaid recipients.
  • Veterans: Qualified military veterans can get hearing aids nearly free of charge from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. See eligibility criteria here, at the VA website.
  • Flexible spending accounts: Medical expenses considered deductible by the Internal Revenue Service that are not paid by your medical insurance are eligible for reimbursement from a flexible spending account.

“You can include in medical expenses the cost of a hearing aid and batteries, repairs and maintenance needed to operate it,” says IRS Publication 502: 2014 guidance on deductible medical and dental expenses.

What is your experience with a hearing aid? Share with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Kari Huus contributed to this post.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

5 Renovations That Can Impact Your Home Insurance
5 Renovations That Can Impact Your Home Insurance

Home improvements can affect your home insurance policy for the better, the worse or both.

Grow Your Savings in 2020 With These 5 Tricks
Grow Your Savings in 2020 With These 5 Tricks

Saving money doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some ways to game yourself into stashing more cash.

What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

This Is the Best Online Savings Account for 2021
This Is the Best Online Savings Account for 2021

The rate of return is just one of several reasons this account stands out.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.