These are all questions we hear every day. We can help.
Why do hearing aids cost so much?
Why are hearing aids so expensive?
Similar to other advanced electronic devices, hearing aids are not cheap. However, the price for a pair of hearing aids can vary by thousands of dollars from one clinic to another. Even on the low end, a set of hearing aids will typically cost more than a thousand dollars. So, many patients have the question “Why are hearing aids so expensive?!”
The base price of hearing aids reflects the research that goes into improving the technology from generation to generation. This continued research is what has allowed hearing aids to become smaller in size, have Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, and better filter out background noise (just to name a few!)
So, it’s not a surprise that hearing aids are expensive. But, did you know, that in most cases, there are additional products and services factored into the purchase cost? The most common model for hearing aid sales is to “bundle” several years worth of hearing aid services into the up-front cost of the hearing aids.
This means that you won’t have to pay for follow-up visits to have your hearing aids adjusted, cleaned, or repaired. In theory, that sounds good, right?
Do you know how much you are paying for these services?
Since these costs are bundled into the price of the hearing aids, it’s impossible to know exactly how much you are paying. Typically, several thousand dollars are added to the total cost to account for follow-up visits.
Do you know what these services are?
Most commonly, the price includes hearing aid adjustments, hearing aid cleanings, and hearing aid repairs. However, you are required to use the same clinic that you purchased the hearing aids from. What happens if you move? What happens if the provider closes their office? Are additional supplies, like hearing aid batteries, wax filters, and dome tips included in the price?
Do you know if you will actually need or use these services?
Once hearing aids are adjusted properly, many patients only need an annual appointment with their audiologist unless their hearing aid needs a repair. Hearing aid repairs are often simple, and can be completed in-office, for a nominal fee. If you purchased “bundled” services, can you answer the question “how much did you pay for each one of your visits?” Some people are more comfortable with bundled services, because they know upfront exactly how much their hearing care will be.
Merit Hearing offers bundled services for just $350 per year. This includes: hearing aid checks, hearing aid adjustments, dome tips, filters, and manufacturer repairs while under warranty.
Despite offering bundled services, the majority of our patients choose the unbundled approach as it is almost always a more cost-effective option. They save money up-front, and then just pay for each appointment as they go. This way, they only pay for the services they actually need and use.
Is it fair that someone who uses service one time per year pays the same amount as someone who uses it 20 times per year?
This is the main problem with a “bundled” model. It assumes a one-size-fits-all approach will be best for every patient. In reality, it is often best for the business, rather than for the patients.
At Merit Hearing, we educate our patients on how to clean and care for their hearing aids at home. For example, changing dome tips and changing tubing is something that many patients are capable of doing at home, if they have the right knowledge. If these simple maintenance procedures can be completed at home, patients can save money on follow-up visits.
Why are your hearing aids so much cheaper than everyone else’s?
The “unbundled” service model that we offer allows us to drastically reduce the upfront cost for hearing aids. When purchasing a new set of hearing aids, patients are paying for the hearing aids, a hearing test and hearing aid consultation, the hearing aid fitting and orientation, and the first year of services. That’s it. After the first year, if patients need a repair, adjustment, hearing test, etc; they will pay out-of-pocket for those services. Over the lifetime of the hearing aid, patients generally save a significant amount of money by choosing to unbundle services. This allows us to offer the best, name-brand hearing aids, at more affordable prices.
How can I save money on hearing aids?
PRICE SHOP! Did you know that the price of hearing aids can vary by thousands of dollars depending on where you purchase them from? We post all of our hearing aid prices online so that our patients know the price they will pay upfront.
Choose an audiologist that is willing to sell hearing aids without bundling in years of follow-up services. This will definitely save you money upfront. In most cases, this will also save you money over the lifetime of the hearing aids.
Why is it so hard to find hearing aid prices online?
Most hearing aid retailers don’t want consumers to know the prices without coming in for an appointment. This helps them get potential patients inside the door. Once a patient has a relationship with an audiologist, they often stop shopping around.
Our philosophy is different. We want our patients to know the cost of hearing aids before they come inside. We want them to choose us for our honesty, transparency, and integrity.
Will my insurance pay for hearing aids?
Many insurance plans are starting to offer benefits for hearing aids. We are a contracted in-network provider with multiple insurance plans, including Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, United HealthCare, Aetna, Cigna, and Medicare. We are happy to assist you in determining whether or not your specific insurance plan will help cover the cost of hearing aids and hearing aid services.
Some insurance plans require their members to go through a third-party company in order to utilize their hearing aid benefit. We also work with many third party companies including, TruHearing, Hearing Care Solutions, United HealthCare Hearing, and Your Hearing Network. For more information, please contact us.
What is included in the manufacturer’s warranty?
A new hearing aid will come with a “Repair Warranty” and a “Loss and Damage Warranty” from the manufacturer. The included warranty will range in length from one to three years. The standard warranty length will depend on the manufacturer, the hearing aid’s technology level, and the clinic you purchase the device from.
Hearing aid warranties from the manufacturer are tied to the hearing aids’ serial numbers, rather than to the purchaser or the seller. This means that the hearing aids can be taken to any hearing aid dealer that has a contract with the manufacturer. The dealer can send in the hearing aids to the manufacturer for warranty services without any additional cost from the manufacturer. This does not mean the dealer will not charge for their time.
The repair warranty will cover any standard repairs or replacement parts. For example, a receiver replacement, or a repair for a “weak” hearing aid would be covered under this warranty. The repair warranty can be utilized as often as required during the warranty period.
The loss & damage warranty is a one-time warranty. If you lose your hearing aid, or it is irreparably damaged, you can activate the loss & damage warranty for a replacement. There will be a deductible, typically $200-$300, to get a replacement device.
It’s so unfortunate that the majority of questions and concerns patients have about hearing health and hearing aids is related to the cost. Hopefully we were able to satisfactorily answer our most common FAQ of “Why are hearing aids so expensive?” Our entire mission is about reducing costs for hearing aids so that more people have the ability to hear better.
If you have a question that we didn’t answer above, please feel free to contact us! We are happy to assist you in any way we can.