Every audiology practice is different. Some places itemize their hearing aid prices (charge one fee for the hearing aids and a separate fee for visits) but most bundle all the costs together. But either way, what you are charged for is more than just the device itself. *It is important to know why places who charge significantly less than others (like big box stores) are able to do this, it is usually because they do not need to pay someone with a doctoral level degree to provide services – NOT because you are getting a “wholesale discount” on the hearing aids themselves.
The final price of devices and services may include:
-The hearing aid(s) -This should also include a protective case, instruction manual, and cleaning accessories from the manufacturer at no additional cost.
– Custom earmolds (you may or may not need these), these may cost upwards of $200/pair
– Any hearing aid accessories you select (e.g. a TV streaming device)
– Battery supply (e.g. 1 month’s worth), typically these cost about $1 each and you may use one per device every 4-14 days depending on your hearing aids.
– Service warranty through manufacturer (may be different for hearing aids, earmolds, and accessories), may come with 1-5 years and you can chose to purchase additional coverage up to a total of 5 years.
– Loss and Damage warranty through manufacturer on hearing aid(s), may come with 1-5 years which you may extend to a total of 5 if you wish (like the service warranty). There is usually no loss coverage for accessories.
– A certain number or time frame of office visits/professional service. This usually includes at least the cost of initial fitting fees which are the more professionally intensive and time consuming visits in the trial period, verifying the hearing aids are fit properly for you.
– Supply of wax guards and/or domes (your hearing aid may or may not need these).
Make sure to understand the return/exchange policy outlined in your contract before you pay. This policy should give you at least a 30 day trial period in which you can return or exchange the devices. If you return them, the audiologist may not refund the cost of the fitting fees and depending on the state you live in, may also retain additional return fees (e.g. 5% of the total sale). Some audiologists may chose to charge no fee for return.
Ask about possible future costs not included in the upfront purchase price. Also, ask how far out their schedule is booked for follow up appointments and what would happen if your hearing aids stopped working two days before a big meeting or a trip you had to leave for.
Do not let anyone pressure you into keeping devices you know you will not wear, beyond your trial period. If you are not ready for hearing aids, wait until you are. But I encourage you to take advantage of the trial period to know if you are ready. In other words, you can’t know until you try.
We do not want you to spend hard earned money
on something that sits in the drawer.
‘But why is the hearing aid itself so expensive?’ you might ask.
Short answer: It is a sophisticated mini computer that took A LOT of expensive research to design and produce.
In reality, the cost of producing the physical device may not be very expensive. It is the research, quality control, customer service, audiologist training, etc. that must be paid for to make sure that company will be around in 5 years to fix your hearing aid if it breaks.
I’m sure I don’t know the whole picture on hearing aid costs. However, I’ve heard this information many times by professionals in different areas of the field and it makes sense to me.
Most practices will not quote you exact prices over the phone because there are so many variables involved. They would not want to tell you something is more or less expensive than what you really need or without telling you what those prices also include. For example, it may cover lifetime hearing aid cleanings at the practice. So, don’t expect to get prices over the phone. Plan to get the prices during a free hearing aid evaluation and feel free to compare practices.
Also, know that generally speaking, one new hearing aid with audiology services and warranties included, should not cost more than about $4000 and probably won’t cost less than $900. Granted, this depends on where you live, but it’s just a ballpark.