The Cost of Buying New Hearing Aids: Part One

Photo credit: GDJ, CC0 Public Domain.

It’s 2017, which means it’s been five years since I bought my last pair of hearing aids! It also means it’s time for me to shell out thousands of dollars on a brand new pair because, as I’ve written before, hearing aids tend to last around five years — and they’re not covered by health insurance.

I’m 30 and I’ve used hearing aids since I was 14. My next pair will be my fourth, and even though it’s going to cost me a lot of cash, I’m ready for them.

There are plusses and minuses about the process of getting new hearing aids. I’m really glad to be getting new ones, because my current set has required a lot of expensive repairs over the last few years, and my right one stopped working altogether a few months ago. I’m extremely hard of hearing in my right ear even with the help of a hearing aid, so I wasn’t using it as much as the left hearing aid I heavily depend on. But it’s still ideal to have two fully-functioning hearing aids, especially considering how much I pay for them.

I’m excited to see what new features are available to me now that weren’t around five years ago. Maybe some things will be much cheaper now than they were then, like Bluetooth capabilities. In 2012, I couldn’t afford Bluetooth, but I’m guessing that this now-common tech is more of a standard feature now, not an add-on.

My current set is a black and silver over-the-ear pair by ReSound. Because I’ve had so many issues with this set, I would prefer not to go with that brand again. However, it’ll depend on my audiologist’s recommendations and what my budget can accommodate. My new hearing aids will likely cost me between $2,500 and $4,000. I’ve got $2,000 saved up, and I plan to pay for the rest with financing — probably with Care Credit, a credit card used for medical expenses that doesn’t charge interest for up to 18 months.

The last time I bought hearing aids, I was able to take advantage of TruHearing, a hearing aid discount program. Because of TruHearing, my hearing aids cost me around $3,000 instead of $5,000. I also got a bunch of cheap hearing aid batteries! However, TruHearing limits the vendors I’m allowed to get my hearing aids from, and I didn’t have a great experience with the Chicago vendor I ended up using. Now I’m back in Ohio, and I plan to go to the audiologist I’ve seen known I was a teenager, with whom I’ve already had good hearing aid purchase experiences. Before my hearing aid appointment, I’ll be calling to see if I qualify for TruHearing at my current job and if my audiologist is one of their vendors.

I’ll be meeting with my audiologist next week to go over my options in terms of hearing aids and financing. Here’s a wishlist I made for my new set:

  1. Bluetooth capability! I want to be able to use my hearing aids like everyone else will be using those new, inconvenient Apple earbuds, so I can easily connect my phone and listen to music. It’s been a pain to have to pause, take my headphones off, and put my hearing aids back in whenever someone needs to talk to me. Apparently this Halo technology for hearing aids would let me connect my set to an app on my phone.
  2. Low maintenance. I can’t deal with another set that keeps malfunctioning on me.
  3. Water-resistance. I play roller derby, and right now I can’t wear my hearing aids at practice because I sweat a whole bunch. That’s a huge inconvenience. I don’t need a pair that can go underwater because I’m pretty sure that tech doesn’t currently exist, but I need a set that can withstand a good workout.
  4. Better clarity. A lot of times if I can’t hear something, it’s not because it’s not loud enough — it’s just not clear. Wind can mess with hearing aids, and so can loud restaurants and bars. I’m hoping that the new set I get will be more adaptable.

I’ll be back with an update after I meet up with my audiologist, and I’ll go over what I can get from my wish list and how much it’ll cost me.

Meryl Williams is an Ohio-based writer who is chronicling her life as a roller derby player via her awesome TinyLetter. She loves Rilo Kiley and most cheeses.

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