The average hearing aid purchased today will cost roughly $1500, with top of the line models going for anywhere between $3000 and $4000 a piece. Prices like these leave the first time hearing aid purchaser with a distinct case of sticker shock. While the cost may seem astronomical, when you take the time to think about where your money is going, you will understand why these devices are worth every cent you pay. From the research behind the device’s development, to the custom care you receive in your audiologist’s office, you are paying for more than just a microphone to put in your ear. Simply put: You cannot put a price on hearing again.
We have all seen the infomercials on late at night, “$14.99 for an assistive listening device,” sounds pretty good compared to the price you’d pay for a custom fitted aid at the audiology office. Why not just buy a sound amplifier from the internet for a fraction of the price? I will tell you why:
They can damage your hearing even further: The devices sold on late-night television that may seem tempting at first glance, can actually hurt you more than they can help you. If you give a person that is hard of hearing the control to a device that makes things louder, they will essentially turn it up to a level that can cause further hearing loss. A comfortable listening level for a person that is hard of hearing can be detrimental to the hearing they have left without the appropriate digital controls to prevent too much sound from entering the ear.
They are NOT made to fit: Just the way you can buy a pair of eyeglasses in the pharmacy for $3, you can find a “hearing aid” at a significantly reduced cost. Some of these aids are sold online and in big box stores. The problem with both of these things is that they are not designed to fit you. Your $3 eyeglasses are not compensating for differences between vision in both eyes, and they are not going to work as well as the glasses that your optometrist prescribes. Hearing aids work very much the same way. With your audiologist you can select a device that suits you.
You CAN control the cost: Many of today’s hearing aids have advanced technology to prevent the user from having to make even the most minor adjustments. This technology can do everything from automatically lower the volume in various listening environments to alert you of an appointment you have next week. Multi-directional microphones, feedback suppressors, tuning channels, wireless connectivity, water proofing, etc. All of these can be likened to the automatic windows and the seat warmers on your car. Some people lead a busy lifestyle, they can see that the cost is worth the benefit to have a remote car starter installed on their car, and others are happy with the economy model and the price tag that comes along with it. These days, even the economy models come with many technological features and there is very little fumbling required. Working with your audiologist you can discuss the different features and their additional costs to find the right fit for you and your budget.
You get what you pay for: In the end, isn’t this almost always true? If you want to mail your hearing aid into a center for repair because you ordered it online, or you are comfortable with a one-size-fits-all approach, then you can pay the lower price, and end up with a product that is sub par. If you want a certified audiologist to work with you to adjust your aid to your specifications and you’re looking for an assistive device that has been built on evidence-based practice, and years of research and development you will have to pay the premium. Working with your audiologist, you can find a hearing aide that is custom designed to fit you and your lifestyle. Become an educated consumer, and find the product that best suits your needs.