One of the most common enquiries we receive at We’re All Ears is, ‘Why are hearing aids so expensive?’. This is a good question, as hearing aids are a substantial investment. It can also be hard to understand the broad price range between different types and styles.
Below, you will find a brief but comprehensive guide to hearing aid prices. If you are currently looking to buy a set of hearing aids, hopefully this will be of use!
How much do hearing aids cost?
Generally, the price of a single hearing aid can range between $1,000 and $4,500. This means that most people are looking at an investment of between $2,000 and $9,000 for a set of two hearing aids.
The cost of hearing aids, while high, typically includes the initial hearing test, the device consultation, fitting appointment and follow up appointments. It also includes hearing aid cleanings and a device warranty that can range from 1-3 years.
Why do hearing aids cost so much?
As mentioned above, hearing aid prices usually include initial appointments and ongoing service from your hearing clinician. So you are not just paying for the device, but an entire service.
Additionally, the process of manufacturing hearing aids is very expensive as a result of the research needed to make advancements in hearing technology. Millions of dollars are spent annually by the hearing industry to continuously improve how these innovative devices perform. Unfortunately, the number of hearing aids sold each year is still very small, leading to higher costs for consumers. In contrast, mobile phones are very common, leading to wealth in the industry and a resulting lower cost for consumers.
If you are still struggling to justify the cost of hearing aids, it helps to think of them as a long-term investment. While they might seem expensive, what you are paying for is care and support for the lifetime of the hearing aid (usually 3 – 5 years). Consider this: if you purchase a pair of hearing aids for $5,000 and they last you four years, you are paying roughly $100 per month, or $3.40 per day. When you think about how much you might spend on your daily coffee, or a couple of beers at the pub, hearing aids come into focus as a very worthwhile investment!
Why are some hearings aids so much more expensive than others?
There is a huge range of hearing aids on the market today to suit many different lifestyles. Two things determine the cost of these devices: style and technology.
Style: These days, hearing aids range from tiny devices that sit inside the ear canal, such as Lyric, to larger devices that sit on top of the ear. Smaller devices are generally more expensive due to the precision needed to create them and the difficulty of fitting such advanced technology in a tiny device.
Technology: While all hearing devices have basic sound processing technology, some hearing aids are far more advanced than others. Top of the range hearing aids feature the latest technologies in feedback reduction, background noise reduction, wireless capabilities and more. These devices are understandably more expensive than basic models.
Why isn’t it a good idea to buy cheaper hearing aids online?
These days, it seems like you can purchase anything on the Internet – even hearing aids. Although it can be tempting to shop online for cheap hearing aids, this is not a wise idea. Buying a hearing aid online and expecting your hearing problems to be solved is comparable to buying braces online and expecting them to straighten your teeth!
A hearing aid is a complex medical device and it needs to be fitted properly by a hearing clinician. Hearing aids should suit the wearer’s lifestyle, ears and hearing loss. If you buy one online, you could potentially waste money on a device that does not meet your hearing needs, and chances are you will not know how to adjust its settings to achieve the best results.
Furthermore, you will miss out on the care, service and support of a professional hearing clinician. If you buy a hearing aid online and you can’t get it to work for you, who are you going to turn to for adjustments and repairs? You will need the care and support of a hearing clinician to make sure you experience a significant improvement in your hearing.
Why are hearing aids cheaper overseas?
The cost of doing business varies in each country. Government regulations, currency value and transfer pricing ultimately affect hearing aid prices. The costs of consumer goods are also linked to the cost of living and demand for a product. For example, hearing aid prices in the USA are roughly 66% lower than in Australia, while their hearing aid market is about ten times the size – this is called economies of scale and it is the same for all retail products in Australia.
It’s also important to remember that not all countries offer the latest in hearing aid technology or the same level of care and support as in Australia. If you purchase hearing aids from overseas, you might experience trouble with maintenance, repairs and a lack of valid warranty.
What financial assistance is available for Australians who need hearing aids?
There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of hearing aids:
Health fund rebates: Most Australian health fund providers offer some rebate for hearing aids and audiology services. It’s best to contact your health fund before coming in for your initial consultation. Download the latest information on health fund rebates here.
Free hearing services for pensioners: Eligible pensioners and beneficiaries of the Department of Veteran Affairs are entitled to free hearing aids and hearing services from accredited providers through the Office of Hearing Services (is a Government run program). Under this scheme, you may be entitled to free hearing tests, personalised support from a hearing clinician and free hearing aid batteries and maintenance. Check if you are eligible to apply here.
No interest payment plans: Connect Hearing offers clients a no interest ever payment plan. This allows you to purchase your hearing aid today by paying an initial deposit, with the remaining balance direct debited at regular intervals. The application is simple with fast approval times. More details are available here.