Using a hearing aid can improve your hearing if you have a hearing impairment, primarily in difficult settings. You can speak, listen, and engage in everyday tasks more effectively as a result. Ironically, the biggest barrier preventing many individuals from using these vital tools is their expensive price.
Most of you might have various questions in your mind. For instance, why are hearing aids so expensive? Hearing aids are too expensive, can I afford them? Are expensive hearing aids worth it? We will try to answer all these questions.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), less than 30% of persons with hearing loss who are 70 years of age or older either use hearing aids now or have in the past. Additionally, just 16% of hearing-impaired persons between the ages of 20 and 69 have ever worn a hearing aid.
In this blog, we will take a look at reasons why are hearing aids so expensive. Moreover, take a look at the factors that make us feel that hearing aids are too expensive.
1) A Monopoly in the Production
The very first reason on the list of ‘why are hearing aids so expensive’ is this one. The exorbitant price of hearing aids is because there are only 6 producers worldwide accounting for 98% of the industry. The majority of hearing aid suppliers have agreements with just two or three of these manufacturers, giving customers few choices.
This situation is about to change, though! The OTC Hearing Aid Act was approved by President Donald Trump in August 2017. The FDA established a new requirement under this new regulation that will make authorized over-the-counter hearing devices available to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. These new over-the-counter hearing aids are anticipated to cost $300 or less, which is much more reasonable!
2) The Increase in Hearing Aid Markups
The initial price of the first hearing aid ranged from $62 to $159 per unit. Even while a contemporary hearing aid only costs about $150 on aggregate, these medical devices are marked up astronomically to thousands of dollars!
First off, hearing aids are expensively priced in the wholesale price market. After raising the price by hundreds or thousands of dollars, the company sells it to audiologists.
Before offering the product to the client, hearing instrument specialists or hearing clinics increase the price by hundreds or thousands of dollars when they purchase these professional hearing aids. Through the use of a combo pricing model, they achieve this. Audiologists offer more than just a hearing aid when you get one from them. The expenses and services of the qualified audiologist are also included in this price! These additional benefits, which you must pay for, include adjusting and matching for hearing loss and hearing loss examinations.
3) Expenses of the Actual Facility
The next on the list of ‘why are hearing aids so expensive’ is the cost of the clinic selling hearing aids. If you interact with a physical clinic site, several variables affect hearing aid pricing. You now know the exact equipment cost that many facilities will publicize. But on top of that, there are extra costs for the solutions rendered by the hearing clinic or audiologist. The pricing bundle, which entails charging one fee for all treatments, including the charge of the hearing aids, will result in clinics charging a higher sticker price.
It might be possible to purchase add-ons on a pay-as-you-go arrangement according to your region, but the advantages of getting the package may outweigh those disadvantages since it frequently includes maintenance, replacement, and batteries for as long as you own the devices.
Also Read: How to clean and care for your hearing aids?
4) Cost-related variables for hearing aids
Many consumers are perplexed by the significant price disparities between hearing aids, which can cost anywhere from $399 to over $6,000. Here are some of the most typical elements that have an impact on the overall cost, however, this is not an exhaustive list.
The price of hearing aids is increased by a variety of factors, including better inventions, cutting-edge technology, connectivity features like Bluetooth, smartphone apps, wireless components, telecoils, and many channels to regulate the volume of specific frequencies.
Style of Hearing Aids
Your choice of design can have an impact on your revenue. For instance, in-the-ear hearing aids are frequently more expensive than versions that go behind the ear.
Rechargeable hearing aids often cost more upfront than those using disposable batteries. Having said that, a rechargeable battery may end up saving you hundreds of dollars over time.
The total amount increases because of elements like tinnitus-masking capabilities, specific microphones, AI, noise cancellation, and feedback administration.
Model of hearing aids
There are older models from several hearing aid manufacturers that are less expensive and frequently look remarkably identical to the current version. Examine the attributes of earlier models when shopping. Sometimes the price difference justifies choosing the less expensive option since the changes are so slight.
Assistance and constant care
Hearing instrument specialists or hearing center expert examinations, fittings, modifications, and follow-up care impact hearing aid prices as well. Costs increase as assistance and services add up.
For less money, several health insurance companies offer restricted coverage for hearing tests and devices. In fact, there are some which cover the entire amount of hearing aids if you qualify for them.
Are Hearing Aids Available in Online Stores?
Online hearing aids shopping has become a common alternative for many individuals. There are various methods available for purchasing equipment online. Hearing aid sales online are common at big-box stores like Walmart. Additionally, you can buy hearing aids from an online discount network that offers products for up to 35% cheaper than the suggested retail price. To provide you with high-quality hearing aids at a lower price, these online vendors partner with a nearby hearing clinic or hearing instrument specialist, or audiologist.
Consumer-Directed hearing aid vendors
You can buy hearing aids directly from direct-to-consumer businesses online like Buy Hearing Aid, MDHearing, and more. Although many websites provide an online hearing test to assist you to decide on your hearing requirements, an expert hearing test or evaluation is not necessary to obtain from these businesses. Additionally, some direct-to-consumer businesses offer coding advice from an on-staff audiologist over the phone or online both during the purchasing experience and afterward.
Over-the-Counter hearing aids
Although you might feel the temptation to buy hearing aids at your neighborhood pharmacy or significant store, they aren’t yet legally accessible over the counter.
Now, we have answered your question – why are hearing aids so expensive? Individuals frequently refrain from purchasing hearing aids because of the high cost. The excellent thing is that hearing aids are becoming more affordable thanks to consumer-directed businesses, online discount systems, and entry-level models offered by some of the top names. Try to purchase only what you require, request unbundled products, spend time shopping around, and consider financing the cost if you’re trying to reduce your expenses. Furthermore, look into any hearing benefits provided by your insurer.
Next time if you think about why are hearing aids so expensive, you can always reach out to us. If you seek any information about hearing loss or hearing aids, you can contact us at Tri-County Hearing Services. We will be happy to help you with your query.