How Much Do Hearing Aids Really Cost?
Are you wondering how much hearing aids cost in 2021? We’re not going to beat around the bush: Hearing aids aren’t cheap. And they shouldn’t be! They’re sophisticated pieces of modern technology and a great investment in your hearing and overall health. Today, we’re going to take the guesswork out of hearing aid cost!
We believe that hearing aids can change your life for the better. And as such, the benefits outweigh the involved costs. But where does the steep price tag, normally ranging between $2.000 to $11.000, come from? What’s included in the cost? And do you really need two hearing aids, one for each ear?
The true cost of hearing aids
No matter how you look at it, having hearing loss and needing hearing aids can be expensive – and health insurance normally doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids. It’s however important to consider that you’re paying for more than just the device. You are usually paying for a bundle of services that includes hearing tests, consultation, hearing aid fitting and any follow-up adjustments, should the need arise.
When discussing prices with your audiologist, ask if aftercare services are included. Hearing aid prices often vary depending on the ongoing support and service you will receive. When you are quoted significantly cheaper prices on the same device, you will likely be paying extra for all further appointments, adjustments, counselling and general professional time. Some clinics will bundle their fees. So, they may quote you slightly higher but will continue to provide ongoing support at no cost.
Why is it worth investing in high-quality hearing aids?
Most people with hearing loss want to know why hearing aids are so expensive. They may think, “I can buy a small car for the price of some hearing aids”. The majority of the cost of hearing aids has been attributed to the amount of research and development required to constantly improve their function and performance.
The hearing industry is spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year to improve the sound quality, to make hearing aids smaller, more automatic, more natural-sounding, more powerful and better performing overall. Hearing loss research is ongoing and continues to improve for the better, as has been demonstrated in the past 10 years alone.
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The initial outlay you put forward for your hearing aids may seem very expensive, but if you break down the dollars, you will find that the cost is not that unreasonable for the benefit they provide. When the average hearing ad pricing is broken down, the daily cost is around $1 to $7, based on a lifespan of 3-5 years. Most people spend this on a daily cup of coffee.
The quality and depth of our communication with our loved ones and work colleagues have a huge impact on our daily lives, mental health and life quality. If this can all be improved by wearing hearing aids suitable for our lifestyle, it would be deemed priceless you would think? Hearing aids do provide a solution to many with hearing loss and most would say they are worth the price.
Factors that affect hearing aid pricing
Your individual hearing needs
Each individual’s needs and preferences are, of course, different. Therefore, what is a suitable option for one person may not work for another. Your journey usually begins with a comprehensive hearing test. A hearing test can be performed by your local Audiologist, who will then discuss the results of your hearing test with you. Taking into consideration your hearing test results and lifestyle needs.
They will then make appropriate recommendations for you to consider. You may often be provided with more than one option to choose from. The audiologist should clearly explain the difference between price points and benefits that you could receive from them.
More expensive hearing aids aren’t necessarily better
The more expensive does not necessarily mean better quality. Hearing loss research and hearing aid solutions have come a long way in recent years and price does not always indicate quality. Hearing loss professionals are now able to fit higher quality hearing devices at lower prices. In-fact the quality and longevity of hearing aids are the same regardless of prices.
Clients often ask, “do more expensive hearing aids last longer?” The answer is, no! All hearing aids, generally speaking, have an average lifespan of around 5 years, give or take. The outer shell or body is mostly the same for all price ranges. What you are paying extra for when you choose to buy more expensive hearing aids is essentially the “level of technology” or in other words the advanced features and the extent of the automatic adaptability of the devices.
Choosing hearing aids is a lifestyle question
Therefore “better” can be defined by the hearing aids having certain features. Now not all clients with hearing loss necessarily require all the features that the “top of the range” or “platinum” levels have to offer.
For example, if you are 85 years old, live alone, spend all your time at home or a nursing home, watching TV and having one visitor at a time and your environment is generally very quiet without too much background noise, likely, you will not need a platinum level hearing aid that is going to cost you a minimum of $5000-6000. The basic level device is more than likely to be sufficient.
Likewise, if you are a full time working 50-year-old, with a family and active social life, you will most probably benefit from the advanced features that the more expensive hearing aids have to offer. In general, the higher the level of technology, the better that hearing aid is going to perform in presence of any background noise.
These are environments such as restaurants, coffee shops, shopping centres and other group gatherings. Your audiologist will discuss the result of your hearing test and explain the hearing loss in detail, taking into consideration your lifestyle, to determine the best options for your needs.
Two hearing aids are better than one
The majority of people with hearing loss need two hearing aids, one for each ear. Age-related hearing loss usually occurs in both ears – which is also referred to as bilateral hearing loss. If your hearing test indicates that you have a hearing loss in both ears, then purchasing two hearing aids is what is generally recommended. If you choose to only buy one hearing aid, you will soon realise that localisation and hearing speech in background noise will be affected.
This is because to localise sound we need both ears. Just like with visualisation, where you need two eyes to perceive depth. Although you will hear more with just one hearing aid, you will not be able to localise what direction a sound is coming from.
Speech in noise is also severely affected by only one hearing aid. We need two ears to filter out background noise and focus on speech. With only one hearing aid, you will hear everything louder in noisy situations, but not necessarily clearer. Therefore, a bilateral fitting is always recommended where possible with any bilateral hearing loss.
Helping you make the right choice
Choosing hearing aids when you have just found out you have a hearing loss can be a difficult task for anyone. Some people may feel overwhelmed and confused with all the information they are receiving. Understanding your hearing test results is the first step towards making a decision.
Your Audiologist should explain the results of your hearing test to you in a way which is simple for you to understand. They should also explain to you the impact your hearing loss is likely to have on your life in terms of your communications with family and friends around you. Once this is clear, you are in a better position to get into a frame of mind, where you can decide on the options presented to you.
Some things your audiologist may discuss with you are the following:
- Different styles of hearing aids
- Behind the ear (BTE)
- In the ear (ITE)
- In the canal (ITC)
- Completely in the canal (CIC)
- Different level of technology
- Entry-level: Ideal for quieter lifestyles
- Mid-level: Ideal for semi-active lifestyles
- Higher-end level: Ideal for more active social and working lifestyles
- Different price points
- Specific technology features
In a nutshell
It is understandable that the cost of hearing aids can be overwhelming when it comes to managing your hearing loss and making the best choice for your particular needs. Our team at Attune Hearing is dedicated to making a positive difference in your life. If you have any concerns or questions in regards to hearing aid pricing and financing options, do not hesitate to contact us!
We highly recommend you to make an appointment with your local audiologist to discuss your options further. Built on a medical foundation, Attune Hearing offers a range of hearing services and devices, independent from hearing aid manufacturers. Book your appointment online today or give us a call at 1300 736 702!