In our “Ask the Expert” series, Amplifon Hearing Health Care audiologist Carrie Meyer, Au.D., answers a frequently-asked question related to hearing loss and hearing aids.
“I’m on a limited budget. How can I save money on hearing aids?”
Dr. Meyer's Answer:
The cost of hearing aids can vary significantly, depending on the technology level, number of advanced features and other factors. Although this comparison isn’t perfect, it’s a bit like buying a car — the more capabilities, performance features and options you want, the higher the price.
Many people are concerned about the cost of new hearing aids, so you’re definitely not alone. At the same time, I’m pleased to inform you that you can improve your purchasing power by following these five tips:
Tip #1: Choose a hearing solution that’s right for you.
Today’s most advanced hearing aids, which can cost a few thousand dollars or more, are generally designed for people who lead active lifestyles and/or find themselves in very demanding listening situations, such as busy restaurants. But maybe you spend most of your time in quieter environments and in one-on-one conversations with friends. If so, you may be perfectly happy with a hearing solution that has fewer “bells and whistles”.
An experienced and conscientious hearing care provider will focus on tailoring a hearing solution to your specific needs and preferences, so you pay only for what you need.
Tip #2: Check your health insurance coverage.
A growing number of health insurance plans — especially Medicare Advantage plans — now contain a hearing benefit that may cover all or part of the cost of hearing aids. If you don’t have a hearing benefit, your health insurance carrier or employer may participate in a hearing health care program that offers significant savings on high-quality hearing aids.
Tip #3: Use your FSA or HSA dollars.
If your health plan includes a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), here’s good news: You can use the pre-tax dollars in your account to pay for hearing aids and hearing care services. (This is even better news if your employer contributes to your FSA or HSA!) Be aware that, with most FSAs, you must use your funds by the end of the plan year. Most HSAs allow you to carry over your fund balance from year to year.
Tip #4: Spread out your costs with financing.
A financing program can enable you to purchase high-quality hearing aids with affordable monthly payments. Some programs even feature an interest-free option for individuals who qualify. A participating provider may even offer to assist you with the application process.
Tip #5: Look for the best value and beware of hidden costs.
Comparing the prices of hearing aids is a good idea, but it doesn’t necessarily speak to real value. Why? Because expert service, from initial testing and fitting to follow-up care, plays a critical role in a person’s success with hearing aids. However, with some providers, you may incur additional costs for aftercare and other essential services. These "extras" can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of ownership. Find out exactly what’s included with your hearing aid purchase. In addition, ask whether the provider offers a trial period and how long it is, in case you’re not completely happy with the hearing aids.
The potential costs of untreated hearing loss
Lastly, I urge you to consider the cost of not taking care of your hearing loss. Numerous studies have shown a strong connection between untreated hearing loss and potentially serious and expensive medical conditions, including dementia, depression and injury-causing falls. In addition, hearing loss has been linked with increased healthcare use, including number of hospitalizations.
If you’re employed, you should also know that untreated hearing loss could cost you as much as $30,000 in annual income, according to the MarkeTrak VII study, which involved 40,000 households.
Amplifon: a leader in affordable hearing care
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I feel fortunate to work for a company, Amplifon Hearing Health Care, that has helped make hearing aids and health care services more affordable for individuals from coast to coast. Advantages of the Amplifon program include:
- Average savings of 62% off hearing aid manufacturer’s suggested retail price
- The largest nationwide network of credentialed audiologists and hearing aid dispensers, with locations near 92% of all U.S. neighborhoods
- Access to a wide choice of hearing aid models from leading brands
- Complimentary aftercare - Two years of free batteries or a charging station, 60-day risk-free trial, three-year warranty for loss, damage or repair and one year of aftercare, all at no additional charge2
- 100% money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied. No restocking or return fees.
Risk-free trial: 100% money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied. No restocking or return fees. Batteries: two-year supply of batteries (80 cells/ear/year) or one standard charger at no additional cost. Warranty: Exclusions and limitations may apply. Contact Client Services (1-844-267-5436) for details.