The High Cost Of Hearing Aids: How Consumers Can Save Money And Hear Clearer

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The traditional hearing aid distribution chain is quite a process. The hearing aid is manufactured, then a sales rep sells it to a dealer, who in turn sells it to a doctor. The doctor then sells the hearing aid to the patient. Not only is this a long process, it is a very expensive process; every step in the process adds another layer of expense to the final cost of the hearing aid. Many clients have difficulty affording the basics of medical care, even with health insurance. The high cost of purchasing hearing aids through traditional methods only increases the financial burden on the patient.

Why Do Hearing Aids Cost So Much?

Again, the previous brief explanation breaks down the exorbitant costs of hearing aids in a nutshell. Let's study this in a little more depth. The hearing aid maker can produce a hearing aid for as little as $75. The maker typically adds a markup of 75% to 150% on the product before it leaves the factory. The sales rep for the manufacturer sells the hearing aids to a dealer, who adds a little markup of his own before reselling to doctors and hearing aid specialists. Another 300-500% markup is added to the cost of the hearing aid before it is sold to the final consumer.

There are only about ten major hearing aid manufacturers in the United States, and three major companies manufacture the majority of hearing aids produced here. In addition, throughout the entire country, there are only around 12,000 authorized doctors and hearing aid specialists that get the product into the hands of patients. Recent statistics show that more than 90% of all hearing aids are sold by audiologists and hearing aid specialists. This creates a culture in which prices for hearing aids continue to soar, since they are in such high demand and they are not widely accessible to patients.  

What Options Do Consumers Have to Save Money on Hearing Aids?

The best method for consumers to save money on hearing aids is to shop online, similar to the way eyeglasses are purchased online. Online hearing aid purchases are easier to make, as they don't require a prescription like an eyeglasses purchase does. The patient will still need to visit a local doctor for a hearing test before choosing a hearing aid. The patient can then use the results of the hearing test and exam to purchase hearing aids online. After the purchase, it may be necessary to revisit the original doctor to ensure the hearing aid fits properly. Patients should ask their audiologist if they have any objections to fitting and servicing hearing aids that are purchased elsewhere.

Do Your Research

It is important to do the proper research before making a hearing aid purchase online, as it can be easy to get scammed. It is never a good idea to purchase a hearing aid from an online auction site, as these hearing aids are low-quality and can be faulty. Patients can obtain hearing aids for less than $1,000 from websites based in the United States that offer the same hearing aid brands that audiologists and hearing aid specialists offer for a cost of $3,000 to $10,000. In addition, some health insurance providers are now covering the cost of hearing exams, as well as the purchase of hearing aids from approved online sellers. A patient may also use tax-deferred funds from a Health Savings Account to cover the cost of hearing aids, which further reduces the cost burden.