For such a small piece of technology, there sure is a big price attached to hearing aids. They can range in price from $900 to over $6,000. The average price of a single hearing aid is $2,300, and most people need to wear two of the devices!
There is more than one reason why hearing aids are so expensive – from manufacturing to monopolies to a small audience, we’ll break it down and hopefully clear up that mystery a bit.
A Manufacturing Monopoly
One of the reasons for the high cost of hearing aids is that a very small group of companies, about six manufacturers globally, control 98% of the hearing aid market. Most providers of hearing aids maintain contracts with only two or three of those manufacturers, leaving consumers without many options.
However, this status quo is set to be shaken up! In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act in August 2017. Under this new law, the FDA approved a new mandate allowing for the availability of regulated over-the-counter hearing aids to consumers with mild to moderate hearing loss. These new OTC hearing aids are expected to cost around $300 or less – much more affordable!
Unfortunately the regulations and guidelines for these new OTC hearing aids have yet to be released. For more information, check out our article on this exciting new law!
Hearing Aid Markups – The Main Reason Why Hearing Aids Are So Expensive!
In the beginning, the cost of the first hearing aid was between $62 ~ $159 per unit. Although the average cost of a modern hearing aid is still only around $150, these medical aids go through exorbitant markups to reach thousands of dollars!
First, hearing aids are sold in the wholesale price market for a high rate. The manufacturer sells it to audiologists after adding hundreds or thousands of dollars to the rate.
When audiologists or hearing clinics get these medical hearing aids, they add another hundreds or thousands of dollars on the rate before selling it to the consumer. They accomplish this through a bundle pricing strategy. When you purchase a hearing aid from an audiologist, you aren’t just purchasing the hearing aid. Included in this cost is also the professional audiologists fee’s and services! Hearing loss evaluations, tuning, and fitting are some examples of these extra services you pay for.
Hearing Aid Research And Development
Technology continues to improve at dizzying speeds, and hearing aids are no different. Compared to hearing aids of the past, modern hearing aids amazingly sophisticated pieces of technology. Millions of dollars are poured into research and development each year to make hearing aids smaller, stronger, and smarter. This is another big reason why are hearing aids so expensive.
They also come equipped with many features such as Bluetooth, speech recognition, remote control, and an ever increasing number of sound bands/channels. All these new features, convenient and as useful as they are, however, add to the price.
In addition, due to their classification as sophisticated medical devices, their high cost serves as a barrier and safety to protect from improper use. Improper use of hearing aids can actually worsen hearing loss!
Affordable Hearing Aid Alternatives
By now, you might be thinking “Ok, so how much should I be paying for hearing aids? Surely not this much?”
While we can’t give you an exact answer to that question, luckily there are some affordable alternatives we can share!
Insurance That Covers Hearing Aids
While most insurances don’t cover hearing aids, there are some that include hearing aids in their plans and coverage. It’s always worth inquiring with your provider and asking directly.
In the meantime, feel free to check out some of our articles on hearing aids and insurance.
OTC Hearing Aids
Like we mentioned earlier, OTC hearing aids represent an exciting new possibility for millions of Americans with hearing loss. Costing only a fraction of the cost of traditional hearing aids, these new devices will still be regulated by the FDA to ensure a level of safety and quality as well.
While you can’t purchase them quite yet, take a look at our OTC Hearing Aid article to get ready for their release!
Do you know about the Lions Club’s Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project? Partnering with local hearing health experts, the Lions Club helps provide thousands of hearing aids to adults and children in need! Check with your local Lions Club to see if you are eligible.
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: