Posted by - Cost for Hearing Aids, Guest Post.

Hearing aids are expensive.  However, there are some very basic things that you can do to save money on hearing aids.  These are the 6 things you can do to save money on your next hearing aid purchase.

1. Call your insurance company.

More and more insurance companies are adding coverage for hearing treatment and/or hearing aids and many insurance companies are using managed care companies to provide hearing aid discounts to their members.  Just be careful with managed care; you may be able to negotiate a better price directly with a local clinic if you forego your managed care benefit.

2. Don’t upgrade your hearing aids. Get them re-calibrated.

If you think the newest hearing aids will provide you a substantially better hearing outcome, think again.  People generally only notice small improvements with each new technology that hits the market.  Unless there is a major feature change that would benefit you directly, changing every 1-2 years is a waste of money.  Instead, focus on finding a provider that can maximize the programming of your current hearing aids as your hearing changes.  This includes re-checking your hearing and re-running Real Ear Measurements (REMs)For more on this, see When to replace your hearing aids.

3. Buy lower level technology.

One of the benefits of continuous technology improvements is that older features make their way into to lower levels of technology.  A well-programmed lower level set of hearing aids will mostly likely perform better than a premium level of hearing aids that aren’t programmed well (the fitting means more than the product), and premium technologies don’t always yield superior performance over basic ones.

4. Finance your hearing aids and spread your payments over time.

Not everyone has thousands of dollars laying around to spend on hearing treatment.  However, nearly every hearing aid clinic you find should have some form of low-interest or no-interest patient financing to make hearing aids affordable if you’re on a budget. Also consider looking into HSA / FSA accounts for tax breaks on hearing aids.

5. Buy your hearing aids online and get them programmed by an audiologist.

If you can’t find a brick and mortar clinic that provides you an affordable hearing aid option, try checking online.  While a hearing aid purchased online likely won’t give you the maximum hearing benefit, it is definitely better than nothing.  You may also be able to have those hearing aids serviced by a local professional as well.  If you are considering going this route, make sure you watch The 7 things you should know before buying hearing aids online, and know that some online retailers sell devices with no local face-to-face support, while others sell (often with the same pricing) the same devices with local support included. Again, the gold standard is to purchase comprehensive support and service from a local provider, typically included in a “bundled” hearing aid purchase.

6. Go to a clinic that unbundles the cost of devices from their professional services.

Unbundled clinics separate the cost of hearing aids from the costs of services.  This can help to curb the upfront costs of hearing treatment and let you pay for services as you go.  While you will have to pay for each visit you make to the hearing clinic, you won’t be spending money on services you never receive. See a list of hearing professionals that offer unbundling in your area.

The Bottom Line

Cost should never be a reason to forgo hearing treatment.  With all the negative consequences of untreated hearing loss, you can’t afford to leave your hearing loss untreated.  With these six ways to save money on hearing aids, you should be able to get hearing treatment at a price that you can afford.

Clifford Olson, AuD

Dr. Olson is a Board Certified Audiologist and holds his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He practices at Applied Hearing in Anthem, AZ, a full service audiology practice. Follow his YouTube channel for more educational videos.

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  • Barbara Goodman

    In Your article you say:

    ” unless there is a major feature change that would benefit you directly, changing every 1-2 years is a waste of money. Instead, focus on finding a provider that can maximize the programming of your current hearing aids as your hearing changes. This includes re-checking your hearing and re-running Real Ear REM. ”

    I purchased mail order Hearing Aids
    I have them a little over one year. The right one failed before the year and they “repaired” it
    The left one probably also failed before the year but I could not or did not realize it was not working/ I thought both were working but I finnally realized thee left oe had not been working for a long time. I just could not tell
    They are no saying I am over warrentey 2 months (it probably occurred before the warrentey was up without my realizing I could not hear from the left ear )
    and they are charging me to repair the 2nd one
    My first hearing aids purchased over 9 years ago from Costco never failed and is still working

    I have 2 questions.
    Should the hearing aid mail order company
    be honoring the warrentey even though it is technically past the warrentey period
    When I get the HA back after it is repaired could my local audiologist
    do a real ear measurment for me? Is my audiologist equipped to do a Real Ear (REM)??

    Thank you

    • Cliff Olson

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for the questions.

      Regarding your first question about honoring a warranty after a typical warranty period, I can’t speak for the company. Some companies may repair a device free of charge after a warranty has expired, depending on the reason. I would imagine that most would charge a fee if the repair was initiated after the warranty period expired.

      The answer to your second question about performing REM on your repaired device is…YES! In fact, I highly recommend that you always have REM performed on your hearing aids no matter where you purchased them from. If the aids don’t meet your hearing loss prescription, you should find different aids that do, or that can be programmed to your prescription.

      The answer to your third questions is…I don’t know. It is estimated that only around 30% of hearing care professionals regularly perform REMs. I’ve personally made attempts to find a provider near my grandmother in Florida and have had 0 success finding one. Your best bet is to call around to hearing aid clinics in your local area, and if you can’t find one that does REM, travel to the closest location that does. Even if it is far away.

  • Matt Starner

    You honestly do not think the newer technology is better? I wear hearing aids and the processing speed and clarity of the new technology is markedly better in background noise than lower technology or older technology. I had an audiologist from Ohio State ask me at a charity food drive how I was able to hear so well in a crowded gym with a DJ playing music and 200 people talking……I answered, “It’s the technology in my hearing aids”. He couldn’t believe how well I did. Please reconsider giving poor advice to people who are looking for good advice. Also, looking for a dealer who unbundled their services is poor advice. How many people will get proper adjustments and servicing if they have to pay $50-$100 each visit? Especially if they are cost conscious already. You are going to cause a lot of people to have bad experiences with hearing aids with this poor advice. Why didn’t you just say to wait another year and a half and get an OTC “Hearing aid”. You could have used quite a few less words and still accomplish the same goal.

    • I think the advice is very prudent. Whether a person with hearing loss benefits from the noise reduction, speech enhancement and directional microphone technology features in hearing aids depends on a number of things: Among those are 1) the degree of hearing loss (the more hearing loss the greater the residual aided hearing loss as hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal), 2) speech discrimination understanding in quiet and more importantly 3) the person’s innate ability to process speech (be it fast speech, accented speech or in background of noise) as measured by the Q-SIN (Speech in Noise) test. Two people with the SAME degree of hearing loss can do vastly different on a SIN test and will therefore perform very different with the same hearing aids. Matt, you may be in that subgroup of people who benefits greatly from these advanced hearing aid features, but the reality is that many do not. Yet too many people with hearing loss are sold top-of-the-line (expensive) hearing aids that will not make much difference.

      As an audiologist, I know that many features, though effective in near-field noisy situations, rarely help those whose hearing deficit is complicated by auditory processing challenges or in reverberant places, such as places of worship, large meeting rooms and airports. Too many people with hearing loss need a signal-to-noise improvement that cannot be obtained with even the highest-tech hearing aid. This is a physics and processing problem that no hearing aid can be expected to overcome. In those situations, users need to avail themselves of assistive technology such as a mini-mic, a Roger Pen and hearing loops.