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
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question
70% of Older Adults Botch This Basic Retirement Question

Can you answer this fundamental retirement income question?

It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things
It’s Worth Paying More for These 7 Things

Sometimes, the difference in quality makes it worthwhile to open your wallet a little wider.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

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.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

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.