You can expect your prescription hearing aids to provide good service for five to seven years in most cases. However, because technology improves over time, your communication demands change, or if your hearing decreases, you may benefit from replacing your hearing aids with newer hearing technology. In addition, hearing aids are exposed to the heat, humidity, and perspiration of the human body every day and require regular service and repairs. Out-of-warranty hearing aid repairs include additional warranties for the manufacturer’s repair. In addition, loss and damage coverage can be purchased separately if desired when your original loss and damage coverage expires or is utilized.
Over-the-Counter hearing aid technology will likely have short warranties for repair and may not have loss and damage coverage at all. These products may not be repairable resulting in much shorter useable life before replacement is required.
The cost of prescription hearing aids for private pay patients starts at $1,500 a pair ($750 each) for fully customized digital technology and can go up to $5,400 a pair ($2,700 each), depending on the level of technology, features purchased, and professional services included with the purchase. Many affordable options are available that do a great job of improving your hearing and communication. Higher priced technology typically has more advanced signal processing, and provides increased comfort and performance in noisy environments. Be sure to discuss your budget and lifestyle with your audiologist so that we can recommend the best technology for your individual circumstances and budget.
Prescription hearing aids use advanced digital processing to help you hear better. Thanks to miniaturization of computer technology, hearing aids are essentially a tiny computer that analyzes and then enhances sounds to improve your hearing. Hearing aids are more than an electronic device. In addition to highly specialized components, they must be tested to meet FDA standards and proven to be safe for use.
Prescription hearing aids are held to higher standards and offer a wider range of power and frequencies, making the electronic components more expensive. Prescription hearing aids are also custom-fit to the exact size and shape of your ear, rather than a one-size-fits-all style. But one of the most important parts of prescription hearing aids is the prescriptive settings that are personally calculated to your individualized hearing thresholds, and then further adjusted and set up for your specific lifestyle, needs and preferences. This requires significant expertise by the provider.
The cost also includes manufacturer warranty, loss/damage protection, and usually includes some amount of professional service such as fitting, prescription verification, use/care orientation, follow-up care, cleanings, and adjustments necessary for your long-term success.
Please let us know your budget and any concerns you have at your initial consultation. We have many options available to help you with the purchase of prescription hearing aids, including no-interest financing through Wells Fargo and Care Credit. In some cases, refurbished hearing aid technologies are available. Over-the-counter hearing aids are available at lesser cost than prescription hearing aids. We can look at prescription and over-the-counter hearing aid options to help you hear better within your budget. We are also proud to provide philanthropic services in conjunction with referrals from local agencies such as Johnson County Health Partnership, WYJO Care, Duchesne Clinic, Hear 2 Help, and Kansas School for the Deaf.
A hearing screening can give us an indication of whether you have a hearing loss, but doesn’t provide the level of detail necessary in order for us to accurately diagnose the condition or to prescribe and fit you with the appropriate hearing aid technology or provide necessary recommendations. Screenings are often offered free of charge as part of special promotions to sell hearing aids or to screen for hearing loss at health fairs. A comprehensive hearing evaluation is more in depth and utilizes sophisticated diagnostic equipment to tell us exactly which sounds and frequencies you aren’t hearing. It provides us with a blueprint of your hearing loss and helps us prescribe the best technology and course of action for you. Your health insurance may help cover the cost of a comprehensive evaluation when necessary and in some cases if ordered by a physician, after deductibles have been met.
Prescription hearing aids are considered a medical expense if you itemize your income taxes. However, there is no standard deduction for hearing aids. You should consult your tax advisor to see if you can itemize the cost on your tax return. As medical devices when dispensed by a licensed audiologist in a professional clinic, sales tax does not apply to prescription hearing aid purchases.
Most insurance plans help cover the cost of a comprehensive hearing evaluation when necessary, less any deductible or co-pays you may have. Some plans do provide coverage for some or most of the cost of prescription hearing aids. Because individual plan coverage varies widely, we verify all hearing aid benefits and provide estimates routinely.
Some health insurance plans promote the use of third-party purchase options which are reported as a hearing aid “benefit.” In most cases, these third-party distributors claim discounted pricing. However, they usually restrict technology offerings, may not have the most current technology, use privately labeled technology, and they often reduce or don’t include the important follow-up services necessary for best performance and satisfaction with hearing aids. Make sure to discuss this and any questions you may have with us so you are fully educated about these plans. In many cases, we have technology that is less costly than the required co-pays of these third-party plans and our private-pay pricing options are often more competitively priced.
Medicare covers the cost of a comprehensive hearing evaluation when medically necessary if your doctor orders the testing, less any deductible you may have. However, Medicare does not cover the cost of testing for the purpose of obtaining or adjusting hearing aids, prescription or over-the-counter, or rehabilitative costs associated with hearing aid use or care.