The most prevalent way to treat hearing loss is with hearing aids, and about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Yet only 16% of those under 69 who could benefit from hearing aids use them, while less than 33% of those over 70 do. Unfortunately, not only does hearing loss cause problems following conversations and difficulties with communicating, but it has been tied to well-being issues like dementia and depression brought on by social isolation.
It’s estimated that, on average, people will experience hearing loss for 7 to 10 years before treating it. While this may be the result of the signs of hearing loss not being recognized or a resistance to using hearing aids due to perceived stigmas, hearing aid cost is another major deterrent to those suffering from hearing loss not using hearing aids.
Traditionally, the average cost of a hearing aid is more than $2,300. This is the price for just one hearing aid, while most people with hearing loss require a pair. Until recently, hearing aids have been only available via a prescription from a hearing health professional and by paying the costs for testing, consultations, fittings, and follow-up adjustments and cleanings bundled into the price of the device(s) themselves. These services may be beneficial for many consumers, however, direct-to-consumer hearing aids provide the option to purchase and try the device without incurring additional costs.
Thankfully, there are now more options for choosing a hearing aid. Like many other health-related products such as eyeglasses and braces, hearing aids are now available direct-to-consumers. While still medical devices designed to treat hearing loss, they are now more readily available and more affordable for more people. And with the implementation of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, new over-the-counter hearing aids will also become available.
Such availability is particularly good news for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, a segment more likely to be deterred by the traditional costs of hearing aids. If you’ve experienced any of the signs of hearing loss, you can learn more about whether or not your hearing loss fits into this category using an online hearing screener. While online screeners are not diagnostic tests, they can help you understand more about your hearing.
Bose recently released the first FDA-cleared direct-to-consumer self-fit hearing aids: Bose SoundControl™ Hearing Aids, which are available for purchase on Bose.com. Consumers can purchase, fit, and tune SoundControl™ Hearing Aids all on their own without the need for a hearing professional. Designed for treating mild to moderate hearing loss, they pair with the Bose Hear app, a mobile app that lets you self-tune using clinically proven audiologist-quality customization. Best of all, SoundControl™ Hearing Aids cost much less than you might pay for just one hearing aid and come with free support and a 90-day risk-free trial.
While direct-to-consumer hearing aids are helping reduce the cost of hearing aids, there are a number of payment options that may be available to you to help make purchasing hearing aids easier and risk free. (Bose doesn’t accept all of these payment options.)
FSA/HSA Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts allow you to set aside a portion of your paycheck pre-tax to be used towards health expenses, thus saving you the money that would otherwise go to taxes. (The difference between the two is that an FSA is facilitated by your employer, while you can set up an HSA on your own.) Bose SoundControl™ Hearing Aids are FSA- and HSA-eligible across all plans.
Medicare Advantage Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and cover the same health care services as Original Medicare. Some Medicare C plans cover hearing consultations and hearing aids.
Insurance plans Historically, private insurance companies have not covered hearing products. While this is still largely the case, as the insurance market has become more competitive, some companies have started offering hearing benefits to their members. Check with your insurance company to see if your plan covers hearing aids.
Veteran benefits Veterans whose hearing loss is related to their military service or a condition treated at a military hospital are eligible to have the cost of their hearing aids covered via the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Additionally, if their hearing loss is severe enough to interfere with everyday activities, they can obtain hearing aids via the VA.
Federal Employee Assistance Federal employees and their families are eligible to receive coverage for hearing aids on some insurance plans. In these instances, insurance will pay for a basic hearing aid. If you are a federal employee, check to see if your plan covers hearing aids.
Risk-free trial programs Some hearing aids, particularly those sold direct to the consumer, offer risk-free trials, thus allowing you to try out your hearing aids to ensure they work as expected and fit properly. Typically, you’ll have to 30 to 90 days to return them for your money back.
Payment plans Another attractive affordability option is a payment plan that lets you pay for your hearing aids over several months, rather than paying the whole price up front. This can be an effective way to fit the cost of a hearing aid into your monthly budget.
Bose SoundControl™ Hearing Aids are affordably priced at $849 a pair, a fraction of the cost of other hearing aids. And Bose offers several ways to make purchasing easier. All SoundControl™ Hearing Aids are FSA/HSA eligible, and Bose also offers Bose Pay, a 12-month interest-free payment plan, to make purchasing easier on your wallet, as well a 90-day risk-free trial.