The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids for adults that is expected to improve access and reduce costs. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 15% of adults in the United States have some level of hearing loss. Hearing aids can be expensive, but many hearing aid manufacturers cater to people with different budgets by offering models that vary in performance, features, and price. In some cases, people can get help to cover the costs associated with hearing aids.
For example, some insurance plans may cover some or all of these expenses. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the main benefit of hearing aids is the ability to communicate more easily with others. Hearing aid users can hear lower sounds than before they couldn't hear. They could also better understand their partner in noisy situations, such as during a crowded social gathering.
Some hearing aid manufacturers offer online hearing tests with the option to purchase their products online after a doctor or hearing care professional has reviewed the test results. Learn more about online hearing tests. However, some manufacturers only provide product information on their websites. In these cases, people should see a hearing care professional and an authorized retailer who can offer in-person testing and adjustment of a specific hearing aid.
Learn more about buying hearing aids online. The FDA doesn't regulate PSAPs in the same way as hearing aids because they're not for treating health conditions. This ruling created a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids, specifically designed for adults 18 and older who feel they may have mild to moderate hearing loss. The establishment of this direct-to-consumer retail category was part of a larger effort to make hearing health care more accessible and affordable.
Researchers have found that three-quarters of Americans with functional hearing loss couldn't afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with hearing care, including the cost of hearing aids. Over-the-counter hearing aids aren't a good option for people who have severe hearing loss or whose hearing loss is due to injury, illness, or some other medical condition. The table below outlines the main differences between prescription and over-the-counter hearing aids. To save costs, some companies allow a person to buy a hearing aid with fewer benefits in its package or only pay for the product itself.
However, it seems that the cost of hearing aids has remained stable, which could be due to technological advances and the inclusion of additional functions in a few years. Some studies suggest that the consistent high cost of hearing aids, combined with the lack of help to cover the costs, contributes to fewer people buying them. In addition, features, such as Bluetooth connectivity and tinnitus masking, tend to make the device more expensive. BTE hearing aids are the most common type of hearing aid.
These devices house their functional parts in an outer layer behind the ear. Sound is transmitted through a hollow plastic tube, or mold, in the ear canal. This type of hearing aid is suitable for people of all ages with mild to profound hearing loss. ITC and fully intracanal hearing aids are suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Both types are located in the ear canal and are discrete options. However, due to their small size, these headphones aren't as powerful and can't pick up as much noise as BTE devices. In addition, people may find it difficult to adjust and remove these devices. ITE hearing aids are placed completely inside the outer ear and are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss.
These devices may also have additional features, such as the telephone coil, which can help people understand telephone conversations more easily. However, hearing care professionals should remove and replace the device cases as the person grows. Therefore, ITE aids may not be suitable for children. Most health insurance policies don't cover hearing aids or the cost of the tests to place them.
However, some insurance plans, such as Medicare Advantage, offer optional hearing benefits at an additional cost. These plans usually include coverage for hearing tests, hearing aid accessories, and the device itself. People can check their health insurance plan documents to see if their plan covers a hearing aid. Learn more about insurance and hearing aids here.
A person can talk to their audiology specialist about funding options. Some companies may offer a payment plan with very low or no interest. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the deaf and hard of hearing, also known as A. Bell International is an international organization that works to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing people have access to the tools, devices and help they need.
This program is one of the latest resources. People must have used all other available options before Starkey offers help. Medicaid provides health care to people with lower incomes. Through the CHIP program, the federal government helps state governments provide health care to children under 21 from families that don't qualify for Medicaid but don't earn enough to buy private insurance.
Children in families enrolled in these programs can have regular hearing screenings. If tests show potential problems, Medicaid will cover additional testing and treatment, including hearing aids. Financial aid for adults varies by state. A person can buy a hearing aid with their employees' health benefits.
Some employers have health benefits that include a flexible spending account (FSA). An FSA allows people to set aside some money during the year to pay for prescription drugs and other eligible health care costs. Many FSAs cover the purchase of hearing aids, exams and maintenance costs, but people should discuss available benefits with their employer. Sometimes, a person can buy a refurbished hearing aid that someone has donated to their local hearing center.
These refurbished headphones are often more affordable. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about hearing aid costs. Headphone technology and any additional features are some of the main factors that determine the price of these devices. Hearing aids can be expensive because of their technology.
Other manufacturers generally don't use hearing aid components in their devices, which means that each component requires its own manufacturing process. In addition, the research and design costs of hearing aids are also high to ensure that each new model improves compared to its predecessors. A hearing care professional will tell you if a person needs a hearing aid for one or both ears. A person with hearing loss will need a pair of hearing aids, while a person with hearing loss in one ear may need only one hearing device.
Most health insurance plans don't cover hearing aids or associated hearing tests. However, some insurance companies offer additional benefits that a person may want to purchase. These options often include specific terms, such as the use of in-network healthcare providers. People can also save money by buying a refurbished hearing aid or making use of employee benefits.
Some health insurers cover hearing aids as an added benefit for an additional fee. Read on to learn more about hearing aids and insurance. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is a condition that affects a person's inner ear. .