Hearing Aid Financial Assistance for Adults

a variety of different hearing aids
Many adults need financial assistance or payment options to afford hearing aids.

One hearing loss fact from the Center for Hearing and Communication stands out to audiologists, “15 million people in the United States with hearing loss avoid seeking help.” For some people, it is the stigma of hearing loss that prevents them from seeking treatment but for others, it is simply the high cost of hearing aids. Hearing aids contain sophisticated technology and, as a result, can be expensive.

The following are some avenues to consider when looking into how to afford hearing aids.

Private Insurance

Many insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, but there are some who offer benefits. Call the toll-free number on the back of your insurance card and ask about hearing aid benefits under your plan. Some specific questions to ask include:

  • Is there a specified benefits amount?
  • Is the benefit per hearing aid or towards the total cost?
  • How often can I use this benefit?
  • Do I have to use a contracted provider?
  • Are there limits to the specific models or technology levels?

Medical Flex Spending Account

A medical flex spending account allows you to use pre-tax dollars to purchase hearing aids. Money is deposited into the flex spending account monthly from your paycheck, so there is not a large up-front expense incurred.

Payment Plans

Some audiologists offer payment plans or utilize commercial programs like CareCredit, which allow multiple options for repayment.

There may be some options that do not accrue interest.

AARP

AARP offers hearing aid discounts through specific providers (namely, HearUSA). A one-year membership in AARP costs $16.00; people aged 50 years and older are eligible for AARP.

VA Hearing Aid Program

For eligible veterans, such as veterans with a documented service-connected hearing loss, veterans receiving a disability rating of 10% or more in any area, and some veterans with “very special needs”, the VA will provide hearing aids.

If you are unsure of your service-connected status or would like to determine whether or not you qualify to be service connected, contact your regional VA. A Veteran’s Benefits Counselor will be able to walk you through the process to become a registered veteran, file a claim for service connection, and schedule a compensation and pension (C&P) examination to determine if a service-connected disability exists.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation is intended to offer assistance to people who need technology (such as hearing aids) in order to work. Vocational rehabilitation is an income-based program for people with disabilities. If you are receiving Medicaid, you are eligible for this program. Eligible clients meet with a counselor to complete an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE will detail which services are needed. If hearing aids are determined to be necessary for employment, the client will be referred to a practitioner who accepts vocational rehabilitation funding.

To find the vocational rehabilitation information for your state, type “vocational rehabilitation” and the state name into your search engine or click here.

Local Charities and Service Organizations

Funding for adult hearing aids varies from state to state. Contact your local Lion’s Club, Sertoma, or Easter Seals to find out if help is available in your area. The Audient program is sponsored by Northwest Lion’s Foundation for Sight and Hearing, EPIC, and SightLife. This program is income-based and provides reduced hearing aid costs through local providers. Patients who use this program are expected to pay $1290 to $2400 if fit with hearing aids in both ears.

If you need hearing aids and can not afford them, contact an audiologist for financial aid information in your state.

Sources

Statistics and facts about hearing loss. Center for Hearing and Communication. Accessed from http://chchearing.org/facts-about-hearing-loss/ 

Hearing Care Program (n.d.) AARP. Accessed from http://www.aarphealthcare.com/health-discounts/hearing-care-program.html 

Audiology & Speech Pathology Frequently Asked Questions( n.d.). United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Accessed from  http://www.visn2.va.gov/dt/audiologyfaqs.asp 

State Agencies (2015). Hearing Loss Association of America. Accessed from http://www.hearingloss.org/content/state-agencies.

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