How to Compare Hearing Aid Prices

Three Parts:Consulting with a Hearing Aid ProfessionalsLooking at Online Reviews and Consumer ReportsDetermining the Warranty Agreement and Organizing Payment for the Aid

With all the different models of hearing aids on the market, picking the right one at the right price can be difficult. Hearing aids can also be an expensive investment, especially if you require two hearing aids, one for each ear.[1] However, you can consult medical professionals and do some research on your own online to find the right hearing aid for your ear and your budget.

Part 1
Consulting with a Hearing Aid Professionals

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    Get a reference for a hearing aid professional. Professionals who recommend and sell hearing aids are known as hearing aid professionals or hearing aid dispensers. The professional may be certified as an audiologist or have specialized training on hearing aids. You can get a reference for a hearing aid professional from your family doctor. It's useful to consult with a hearing aid professional in person as they can offer recommendations on aids and help you compare prices.[2]
    • Many big box stores that sell hearing aids will also have hearing aid professionals on staff. However, getting a recommendation from your doctor will usually ensure the hearing aid professional is properly certified.
    • You can also get a reference for a hearing aid professional through friends or family who use hearing aids and have had a positive experience with their hearing aid.
    • Another option is to look up highly rated hearing aid professionals in your area through an online database.[3]
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    Set up a consultation with the hearing aid professional. You should set up an in person consultation with the hearing aid professional and ask her a few questions about her credentials. She may be a certified audiologist or have proof of training in fitting and selling hearing aids. The dispenser will use equipment to test your hearing and determine your need for an aid. The dispenser can then recommend the best aid for your needs and your budget.[4]
    • You may want to set up consultations with several different hearing aid professionals so you can compare prices and services offered by each professional. Aim to have consultations with at least two different hearing aid professionals so you can compare and contrast prices.
    • The professional should offer you aids from a variety of manufacturers and be willing to walk you through the selection process.
    • Most hearing aid professionals will charge flat one rate for testing, fitting, and recommending a hearing aid, though some dispensers may charge you separately for testing and fitting.
    • The dispenser should also show you how to use your aid and provide services for follow-up care and any needed adjustments. You should also receive oral and written instructions on how to insert your aid and care for it.
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    Go over your hearing aid needs with the dispenser. The professional should first ask you a series of open-ended questions about your hearing loss issues and your hearing aid needs. Try to answer her as honestly as possible, as this will help her to determine the best hearing aid type for you.[5]
    • She may ask you how your hearing loss affects your everyday life, and where or when you notice the most difficulty with your hearing. She may also ask you if you are comfortable handling aids and dealing with batteries. Finally, she may ask you other questions about your medical history, such as a family history of hearing problems, any medications you are taking, and any prior experience you may have with hearing aids.
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    Get your hearing tested. If you have not already had your hearing tested by an audiologist or a hearing specialist, you should allow the dispenser to test your hearing. The dispenser will then use the results of the test to help you select a hearing aid.[6]
    • During the test, you will sit in a sound-controlled booth and wear earphones. You will then need to push a button or raise your hand when you hear a tone or a word. The dispenser may test your ability to hear certain tones and noises, your ability to hear certain speech patterns, and your ability to recognize words at different sound levels.
    • The test results will then be recorded on an audiogram. If you have perfect hearing, your audiogram would show a fairly straight line across the top of the graph. If you have hearing loss or hearing issues, the line may slope downward.
    • Be wary of any dispensers who offer “free” hearing tests. The cost of the “free” test may actually show up later wrapped into the price of the hearing aid. There should be no hidden strings attached to a “free” test.
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    Discuss your hearing aid options in terms of price and type. Once you have outlined your hearing aid needs with the dispenser, the dispenser should go over your options. Keep in mind that hearing aid manufacturers do not set retail prices, hearing care professionals set them. This means you may find the same hearing aid from a different dispenser at a lower price or at a more expensive price. You should discuss your budget with the dispenser and try to get the best price possible for a model or type of hearing aid you are interested in.[7]
    • You should ask the dispenser what exactly is included in the quoted price and have her break down exactly what you are paying for. The full cost could include testing, evaluation, fitting, and follow up care, as well as the actual hearing aid. You should have a good idea of what exactly you are paying for when you settle up with the hearing aid professional and be wary of any hearing aid professionals who do not want to break down your total bill for you.
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    Shop around at different hearing aid professionals. If you are looking for the best price on a certain model or type of hearing aid, you can shop around and get second or third opinions from different hearing aid professionals. You should get a copy of your audiogram and use it during consultations with different hearing aid professionals.[8]
    • If a different hearing aid professional would like to test your hearing, you should not pay to get them tested a second time. You can either show the professional your audiogram or insist you be tested again at no charge.
    • Your second or third opinion hearing professionals may suggest a different model or type of hearing aid. They may also offer you a better price on the hearing aid or give you a better deal on hearing aid package, which could include maintenance and support services for your hearing aid. Don’t be afraid to compare prices and select the professional that offers you the best option.

Part 2
Looking at Online Reviews and Consumer Reports

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    Read online reviews for hearing aids. As a consumer, you can do some research on your own to compare hearing aid prices. If you have access to the internet, you may do an online search for certain hearing aid types or brands. You may be able to read online reviews of the hearing aids and determine how much the hearing aids retail for. This information can then come in handy when you meet with a hearing aid professional and buy a hearing aid from them, as you will be well informed and less likely to get sucked in by inflated pricing.[9]
    • For example, maybe you are interested a behind the ear hearing aid. You can look up behind the ear hearing aids and note the price range of these types of hearing aids, usually $1,850-$2,700.
    • You can also buy a hearing aid online through an online retailer, which can be a cheaper option. However, you should make sure the hearing aid comes with a trial period where you can try out the hearing aid to see if it is right for you. You may need to try several hearing aids to find one that fits your ear comfortably and fits your hearing needs.
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    Review consumer reports on certain hearing aid brands. You should also search for consumer reports on certain hearing aid brands to determine if they are well reviewed and well priced. A list of the top 10 most reviewed hearing aids can be found online.[10]
    • For example, maybe you come across a certain hearing aid brand, such as Miracle-Ear, that makes a certain type of hearing aid at a reasonable price. You should read the reviews for the hearing aid type to confirm it has mostly positive reviews. This could then increase the likelihood that you will also have a positive experience with the brand’s hearing aid.
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    Compare prices from different online retailers. Shop around before you settle on a certain online retailer, as you may be able to find the same hearing aid at a better price from a different retailer. Do a search for a specific model or type of hearing aid and compare the prices on different sites. This will help you find the best price for the hearing aid.
    • Make sure the online retailers appear reputable and legitimate. You should avoid any online retailers who appear spammy or full of advertisements for other medical items. Most reputable online retailers will only sell hearing aids and offer a warranty as part of the online sale.

Part 3
Determining the Warranty Agreement and Organizing Payment for the Aid

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    Get a written contract from the seller. Before you buy a hearing aid from an online retailer or a hearing aid professional in person, you should get a written contract. The contract should note everything promised during the consultation in writing. This will ensure you have physical documentation of the agreement in the event of an issue or problem with the hearing aid. The agreement should include:[11]
    • The name of the dispenser, the state registration number, and the registration expiration.
    • The manufacturer’s name and model, the serial number on the hearing aid, and the manufacture date.
    • A breakdown of the price for the hearing aid, as well as any other charges and services.
    • The length of the trial period for the hearing aid.
    • Any nonrefundable costs, such as testing and fitting costs.
    • The repair policy, including repair costs and any restrictions relating to repair of the hearing aid.
    • Insurance policy options.
    • The procedures if the aid malfunctions or fails to work properly.
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    Determine your warranty options before you buy the hearing aid. A warranty is a document that covers certain issues or problems with the hearing aid within a certain time period, usually one to three years. Ask the dispenser about your warranty options and make sure online retailers also offer warranties. You may also be able to purchase an extended warranty that kicks in after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. You should ask several questions about your warranty options, including:[12]
    • How long does the warranty cover your aid? This is usually one to three years.
    • Does the warranty over all parts, fittings, and adjustments?
    • Does the warranty provide you with a new aid if an unforeseen incident damages the aid in any way? For example, maybe your dog eats it, you drop it, or you lose it.
    • Will you get an upgrade in the event of damage to the aid or the same model?
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    Check if your health insurance covers some of the cost of the hearing aid. Hearing aids can be quite costly, so you should check with Medicare about getting insurance coverage for some of the professional services related to the hearing aid, such as hearing tests. Medicare likely will not pay for the hearing aid itself.[13]
    • If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for hearing aids through the Veterans Administration. You will need to have a documented service that relates to your hearing loss or special needs. You may qualify for a disability rate of 10% or more on hearing aids. Check with your local VA office for more information.

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Categories: Ear Care | Medication and Medical Equipment