You don’t need me to tell you that hearing aids are expensive – you already know that! But did you know that there are things you can do to help reduce the cost of hearing aids without sacrificing the hearing treatment?
Here, I’ll discuss the six things you can do to save money on hearing aids.
- Call Your Insurance Company
A lot of people think that because Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, their insurance will not cover hearing aids. This is not necessarily the case. More and more insurance companies are giving hearing aid benefits to individuals who have hearing loss.That being said, there are also insurance companies that are contracted with managed care groups, which will get you a discount on hearing treatment as well. The thing to understand about managed care groups, such as TruHearing or EPIC, is that a lot of times when you go into an audiology clinic, they can give you a better price than managed care groups. In other words, if you walk into an audiology clinic and say, “Hey, I have TruHearing benefits,” then that could trigger the audiology clinic to give you a better price.
- Don’t Buy Hearing Aids as Often
A lot of people think that getting the newest, latest, and greatest technology every year or two will help them substantially with their hearing. This is definitely not the case. If there are clinics telling you that this is the case, then I would question the recommendation to upgrade technology that often!You see, even though there are improvements in hearing technology year by year, the improvements are generally small – unless a major feature comes out that would dramatically your listening environment or situations in which you want to hear.Instead, find a place that can program your hearing aids better. Hearing aids only perform as well as they are programmed, so if the place you’re going does not follow best practices, you’d be better served by taking your current hearing aids and going somewhere that does follow best practices. This means that they perform real ear measures and subjective outcome measures to determine whether you’re actually getting benefits from your devices. If your hearing care professional’s way of determining benefit is simply asking you “How does that sound?”, then you’re probably not going to a place that follows best practices.
- Ask for Lower Level Technology
Lower-end hearing devices are actually pretty good, and while they won’t help you hear as well as premium-level technology, they’ll actually do a lot more than you would think. It really comes down to how well that hearing device is programmed for you. I often say that a low-level hearing aid, if programmed well, will perform better than a premium-level device that is not programmed well.
- Finance Your Devices
Financing is a great way to break up that front-end payment you would traditionally make when buying hearing aids and hearing treatment, giving you the option to spread out payment over a long period of time. Almost any clinic you visit will have some kind of financing option, whether it is low-interest or no-interest medical financing. They’ll be able to help set you up with financing and find something that works with your budget.
- Consider Buying Hearing Aids Online
I know this may seem ridiculous coming from someone who sells hearing aids in a clinic setting – why would I recommend that you buy online? This doesn’t win me a lot of fans in my profession, but if you can’t afford hearing aids or find a clinic that can give you an affordable price on hearing aids, then going online might be a viable option for you.One thing to keep in mind: when you buy hearing aids online, it is really a crapshoot. You don’t know if the device is going to be physically fitting properly in your ear, and you don’t know if they’ll be programmed right for you. In fact, I guarantee that the hearing device will not be programmed properly for you, because they are not professionally fitted for your ear.If you’re looking for just a marginal benefit, going online might be the way to go. If you want more information that, check out my video (https://youtu.be/TJcJfh–nIU) about the seven things you should know before buying hearing aids online.
- Find a Hearing Aid Clinic that will Unbundle Their Care
There are two types of clinics: a clinic that will bundle the cost of the hearing aid and hearing treatment into one cost and a clinic that will separate the cost of the hearing aid and the treatment they provide. When you go to a clinic that separates these costs, you can generally get lower up-front costs for technology, and you don’t have to pre-pay for the care that you may or may not receive.Yes, there are merits to going with the bundled delivery model of hearing aids and hearing treatment. You can basically go in as many times as you want or whatever they’ve scheduled for you – and you don’t have to worry about any additional out-of-pocket expense. If you can finance that, assuming you have decent credit, you can also spread out the cost.However, the industry is changing a lot in this aspect. Why would you spend all of this money upfront when you don’t really know if you’re going to use these other services? Another thing to keep in mind is that some places will actually sell you what appears to be a bundled model, but they do not actually provide you with high-quality follow-up care.If you want success with treatment, make sure that the professional care you receive is on point. Your provider should be doing all of the processes extremely accurately to ensure that you have the most success with your hearing aids.
Things to Avoid
Don’t sacrifice the quality of care in order to save some money. Plenty of clinics out there will sell you a hearing device for extremely cheap, but they will not provide you with the adequate fitting and follow up care to ensure that the devices actually work properly for you. They’ll make their easy money, you’ll never come back in for their follow-up (because they won’t provide you good follow-up), and ultimately, you’ll be left with the impression that hearing aids just don’t work for you – which is largely not the case!
If you’re a candidate for hearing aids, there is absolutely no reason that you do not benefit with your hearing aids. This only happens if you got the completely wrong type of hearing aids for you and if the fitting and follow-up are horrible.
To Recap, the 6 Ways to Save Money on Hearing Aids
- Ask your insurance if they cover a portion of your treatment.
- Don’t get new hearing aids quite yet – reprogram them and see if you can get more out of your current devices.
- Ask about a lower level of technology – remember you can make a low-level piece of technology work really well if you program it well, and you can make an expensive piece of technology work horribly if it’s programmed wrong.
- Ask about financing at the next place you visit – see if you can spread the cost of treatment over a longer period of time.
- Consider buying your hearing aids online – while I caution you about this, it can be a way to get the technology for cheaper. Be sure to take that technology into a clinic so they can program it for you!
- Find a clinic that unbundles their care – this reduces the amount of money you’ll have to pay upfront, and if you don’t need as much follow up care, you won’t be paying stuff you’re not using.