Hearing loss is a common issue for older adults. But as you grow older and your hearing worsens, you’ll need hearing aids – and hearing aids aren’t cheap. Prices for individual hearing aids start at $1,200 and can climb as high as $3,500, AARP reports¹.
However, seniors don’t have to pay these high prices. And saving money on hearing aids can be as simple as knowing where to shop.
Here are a few ways seniors can save money on new hearing aids.
Participate in a Manufacturer’s Trial
Hearing aid manufacturers are always making updates to their hearing aids or releasing new styles. And with technological advances happening frequently, hearing aids are changing often.
This is great news for seniors looking to cut costs on a pair of hearing aids. When manufacturers release new or updated hearing aids, they often offer trial programs. These trials allow anyone looking for hearing aids to try out the newest models and give them a test run.
Joining a manufacturer’s trial program gives you the opportunity to try out different hearing aid models for a reduced cost². By wearing the hearing aids and giving feedback to the manufacturer, you can save significantly.
To see which hearing aid manufacturers are offering low-cost or free trials on their latest hearing aid models, Healthy Hearing³ offers a list of major hearing aid companies for seniors to explore.
Use a Medical Spending Account
While your Medicare coverage and even private health insurance coverage may not help reimburse the costs of your hearing aids, there are other ways you may be able to put the money spent back into your bank account. If you need to purchase hearing aids, you can do a little planning ahead to save money and reduce your costs.
Each year, medical spending accounts allow individuals to put aside a sum of money that’s designated for only medical expenses⁴. That money won’t be taxed, and it’s often loaded onto a debit card or into an account that can be used for doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and medical aids like hearing aids.
Check to see if you have one of the following plans, which you can use to get reimbursed for your hearing aids:
- A Health Savings Account (HSA): HSAs are medical spending accounts that allow you to put aside pre-tax money for medical costs each year. You can use an HSA to pay for hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, and the money you put in an HSA rolls over every year.
- A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA): HRAs are funded by employers, and some working seniors may have them through their workplace. With an HRA, your employer will decide if hearing aids are a reimbursable medical expense.
- A Flexible Spending Account (FSA): FSAs are medical spending accounts that allow you to put aside pre-tax money for medical costs each year. While requirements and allowed expenses vary, many FSAs do allow reimbursement for hearing aids.
Seniors should check to see if they can place money in one of these accounts to prevent the money from being taxed and to create a fund that’s designated for the cost of hearing aids.
Get Help from a Nonprofit
If hearing aids are just too expensive for your fixed income budget, don’t give up – there are organizations designed to help seniors afford hearing aids. A number of nonprofits offer financial assistance specifically for seniors in need of free or low-cost hearing aids.
Check with nonprofits like the following, which offer hearing aid programs, financial assistance, and even grants based on individual medical needs:
- AUDIENT⁵, a nonprofit hearing care organization that provides hearing aids for low-income individuals.
- Hearing Loss Association of America⁶, which offers financial assistance for the elderly, veterans, and others to buy hearing aids.
- Lions Clubs International⁷, which offers the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project. Seniors can reach out to their local Lions Club for hearing care and an application for financial help.
- Miracle-Ear Foundation⁸, which specifically helps those with hearing loss who meet eligibility requirements.
Nonprofits like these, as well as others, may be able to help you afford the hearing aids you need.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it pays to shop around for hearing aids. Seniors should take the time to search and shop around to find the most affordable hearing aid options.
Shopping around and comparing different prices from different hearing aid retailers can serious pay off. While your doctor or insurance company may recommend a specific hearing aid retailer, you could find the very same products – or products of equal quality – for less somewhere else.
For example, Consumer Reports⁹ found that Costco offers much cheaper hearing aids. Screenings are free at some Costco locations, and hearing aids cost between $500 and $1,500. That’s a steep discount from hearing aids that could run $3,500 per ear at other retailers. Make sure to check your local big box retailers and warehouse stores to see if they offer lower-priced hearing aids.
Additionally, you can shop online and easily compare prices from multiple stores. Search for hearing aids online, and you can narrow down your options by specific models, specific manufacturers, and your price range. You may be able to uncover cheaper options, or use some of the savings tips mentioned above, to be able to afford the hearing aids you need.