As America’s population ages, many individuals struggle with hearing loss. In fact, about 20% of Americans report some degree of hearing impairment. One reason people avoid hearing aid purchases is cost; the average price of “mid-level” hearing aids is approximately $4,500 for two, according to AARP. And most health insurance plans cover little of the cost of hearing aids.
Medicare, for example, doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids, exams, or fittings, but may, in some circumstances, cover “diagnostic testing” for hearing loss. However, you must still pay your Part B deductible and an additional 20% of the cost of testing.
On the other hand, Medicare Advantage may provide some coverage toward hearing aids and the associated costs of exams and fitting, such as a co-pay for hearing exams, some coverage for the hearing aid fitting, and a small amount of coverage, perhaps $500, toward a hearing aid purchase.
While many people accept hearing loss as a normal part of aging, those who resist purchasing hearing aids may want to rethink waiting: recent studies have shown a link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease. In two Johns Hopkins’ studies, researchers found that those with hearing losses serious enough to impact conversation were much more likely to develop dementia.
As well, older adults with hearing difficulties feel lonely and isolated, resulting in depression and other physical and psychological problems. If you are in the 20% struggling with hearing loss, discuss your options with your insurance agent or check AARP’s website, Paying for Your Hearing Aid. It’s so worth it!