The Cost of Buying New Hearing Aids: Part Two
Welcome to Part Two of my series about the process of buying new hearing aids! If you’re new to the series, I am a 30-year-old lady with good health insurance and yet I will be paying for these very tiny, expensive devices solely out-of-pocket, as I’ve had to do every five years since I was a teenager. Unlike dental or vision insurance, there’s no hearing insurance for ears.
As I mentioned in Part One, my current set of hearing aids is about to bite the dust, and I need to replace them before that happens. I told you I was expecting to pay between $2,500 and $4,000, and that I was going to check to see if my audiologist is a TruHearing vendor so that I could take advantage of a discount program for hearing aids.
There was so much good news and bad news at my appointment! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, so let me walk you through it.
Good news: Bluetooth is indeed more common now, as I suspected!
Bad news: It’s still expensive, and I can’t have “normal” Bluetooth capabilities like most people. My messed up ears limit me to over-the-ear hearing aids, and there are are only ideal two Bluetooth-capable models that will work well for me. Either of those two pairs will require me to buy a Bluetooth receiver thingy I’ll have to wear around my neck. The external receiver is an add-on cost of $300. (My ears won’t allow for a small, in-the-ear receiver hearing aid — I have to stick with larger, form-fitting ear molds.)
Good news: My audiologist is a TruHearing vendor!
Bad news: Hahahaha, wow, I am still going to need to find more money for this large expense, even with the big discounts.
Here is a list of prices for hearing aids, without any discounts:
The two pairs I want are both made by Oticon: the Ria 2 Pro, which costs $4,400 (per pair); and the Nera 2 Pro, which costs $5,700.
With the TruHearing program discount, the Ria 2 Pro will only be $2,310 and the Nera 2 Pro will cost $3,050. That’s a huge difference. (I’ll still need to pay $300 for the Bluetooth receiver regardless of which pair I choose.)
In Part One, I mentioned I had about $2,000 to spend. That was before my rust-bucket car decided to require some expensive repairs! Now I’ve got $1,500. I also mentioned that I planned on using CareCredit for the rest. It turns out CareCredit is only willing to loan me $500, bringing my available funds back up to $2,000.
The Ria 2 Pro with the receiver will total $2,610, meaning I’d have to scrounge up an extra six hundred bucks.
That’s bad enough as it is — but deep down, I know I want the more expensive Nera 2 Pro.
The Nera 2 Pro is considered a premium set, while the Ria 2 Pro is a step below. It sounds like the Nera 2 Pro will serve me better in my roller derby practices and they’ll provide more clarity — those, along with Bluetooth capability and less maintenance, were two big things on my wish list for a new set.
The last time I bought hearing aids, I went with the cheapest option—which ended up costing me a lot in the long run, thanks to a series of expensive repairs over the course of five years. If I’m going to be spending a ton of money, I want the best bang for my buck. This expense is for something that needs to get me through the next five years.
The thing is, the Nera 2 Pro and the receiver will cost me $3,350, and I’ve only got $2,000 toward the total cost. That extra $1,350 is going to be much harder to swing than the extra $610 for the cheaper pair. Unless something changes in the next month, I’ll have to go with the Ria 2 Pro.
I’m giving myself until the first week of April to decide — that timing lines up with a scheduled appointment to see my ear specialist back in Chicago, and my audiologist agreed it’s a good idea to pay him a visit before laying down any serious cash.
Meanwhile, I’ll be saving up as much as I can with the hopes of getting the Nera 2 Pro set. It looks like I could order them in lilac or midnight blue…
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