Hi, I’m Dr. Nancy Duncan, and a question I’m often asked is, “Why are hearing aids so expensive?” My reply is always the same – define expensive because expensive means different things to different people.
And when people’s answers range between $5,000 and $12,000 a pair, it’s clear this is something we definitely need to address so that you and many others have the right information.
So, today I’m going to answer the question properly and perhaps dispel some myths in regard to hearing aid costs.
If you prefer to listen than read, I share my thoughts on the video below. If not… continue reading!
Let me start by saying hearing aids are not cheap per se. They’re an investment into a life made better through better hearing.
However, they don’t have to be as expensive as most people think they are.
We Have Some Explaining To Do…
Let me explain first, I want to apologize to all of you because we, as hearing care professionals, have not done a good job over the years of explaining the costs involved in the price that’s often quoted to you the patient, and that’s been a big part of the problem.
So, let me break it down a little bit further.
For many years, we quoted a large lump sum of money to you for devices. And I did this myself during the last five to ten years.
Many of us have started to itemize the cost. So, you can see that the price has been established, how that’s been done, and this has helped a bit, but let me break it down a bit more.
We all do things in life that require us to purchase an item, and then we need someone to provide the service along with it to make it work for us.
For example, if my car breaks down and it stops working, I could go to an AutoZone, purchase the parts, and attempt to fix my vehicle myself.
However, I know I don’t have the skillset or knowledge to do this.
I mean, let’s face it. I’d probably do a lot more walking if I tried…
But what most of us do is we take it to our trusted mechanic who assesses the problem, orders the correct part, fixes the issue, and then warranties the work for a certain amount of time. We are then charged a fee for the parts and then the labor, which is for their expertise and their time to make sure that this job is done right – and to make sure that I’m safe on the road.
Now, let me use the same example in the world of hearing aids.
Sure – you can go online and purchase a hearing aid, but without an appropriate and accurate hearing evaluation to start with, how would you know what prescription you needed? How would you know how to program the device?
Do you have the software and equipment needed to program that device for you? Probably not.
And that’s just a start.
Why Should You Visit A Hearing Care Professional?
Fitting a hearing aid is not just as simple as taking your test and putting it into the hearing device. I wish it were. Our brains are very much involved in this process and no two brains are alike.
You can take two people with the same hearing loss and their sound preferences will be wildly different. Their challenges with hearing will be different and their listening lifestyles will be vastly different. This is where your hearing care professional’s expertise and experience will come into play. They will know the right questions to ask to know where you are in the process of adapting to your new hearing device and where to set them to start, because it’s an ongoing process.
The settings you start with are not the settings you end with. You will gradually get used to the hearing aid and get used to hearing all sounds again and want more volume along the way.
We do this during your 45-day trial period. So, as you can see, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
So, let’s get back to that original question – why do hearing aids cost so much?
Well, the cost of the hearing aids alone would be the same pretty much no matter where you went.
However, when you see a hearing care professional to be fit, your experience will be significantly improved and the cost of their expertise is added into the cost of the devices.
As often, there are hours and hours spent to help you adjust to your new hearing devices along the way. For most new patients that I see, we spend on average three to four hours, spread out over several appointments during that initial 45 days.
And just to make you aware, the good news is in most states, if at the end of the 45-day trial period you’re not happy, you can return the devices for a full or partial refund, depending on the practice you’re working with.
Also, in many practices, in addition to the cost of the hearing devices and professional fitting fees, you do have an option to add on an aftercare plan and this will be added to your purchase.
So let me explain what I mean.
Why Regular Maintenance And Upkeep Are Essential
The use of your hearing devices doesn’t end at the end of your 45-day trial. That’s simply the beginning. Your hearing devices are only good to you if they’re functional. So, routine care and maintenance appointments are advised to help keep them up and running similar to how we do preventative maintenance on our cars by getting oil changes.
Also, your hearing inevitably will change during the time that you have your hearing devices. It is recommended that you have yearly evaluations to monitor your hearing and change a prescription as needed.
This is no different than what we do with our eyes – by having them checked yearly and our glasses prescription changed as needed.
You will have the option to pay for these items as you use them or purchase an aftercare plan upfront often at a savings for a certain number of years and it will include various other items, such as supplies, batteries, ear molds, etc.
Depending on the cost that you’ve paid and the practice that you’re working with, these plans create value and benefit to you, but will increase that upfront cost of your hearing devices.
So yes, your hearing aids may appear to be at face value more expensive than what you see advertised elsewhere. But when you break down what you’re getting with them, you may actually be saving money.
Then you may be a more successful hearing aid user who is seeing benefit in your everyday life, noticing improved relationships with friends and family and seeing better performance at work and have more self-confidence.
This is all because of better hearing, while others with devices that they’ve purchased solely on cost considerations alone have put theirs in their desk drawer and aren’t using them.
It’s very difficult to put a price on that.
A Couple Cups Of Coffee
It is recommended that you work closely with your hearing care practitioner to see what your needs and expectations are and to see what options will work best for you.
As I mentioned at the beginning, hearing aids aren’t cheap, but they’re often not as expensive as most people think.
If you look at how long you use them for, what the cost is, and that they’re worn daily during all of your waking hours, the cost breaks down to only about $5 to $10.
That’s the equivalent to a couple cups of coffee down at Starbucks!
I don’t know about you, but I think being able to hear well and enjoy your life to the fullest is worth $5 to $10 a day, and we think you’re worth it.
The First Place To Start
If you or a loved one is considering hearing aids, but feel conflicted with all of the different messages online, the best first step is to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with a professional audiologist.
This way, you can find out the exact status of your hearing health to help you determine your best next steps. The decision is up to you – we are just here to guide you to a healthier, happier life.
Alternatively, click here to request a callback and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks, and have a great day!