5 Fast Facts about Hearing Aids
by Bridget Dobyan, HIA Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
July 13, 2022
Do you have questions about hearing aids, hearing health, and the prevalence of hearing loss, but only a few minutes? These 5 fast facts can get you started!
- 1 in 10 Americans. More than 38 million Americans have hearing loss. According to our research, about 42% use hearing aids, cochlear implants, or personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) for their hearing loss.1 There are many reasons people don’t use hearing aids, including a sense that they hear well enough, stigma about hearing loss and aging, lack of insurance and cost.
- Innovative Technology. Today’s technology provides clear, rich sound quality and better understanding in multiple environments, including a noisy one. Features can include remote controls, downloadable apps, rechargeability, dual microphones, and tinnitus maskers. The innovation doesn’t stop there, with options for Bluetooth technology to stream phone calls, music, and podcasts directly to your ears, and artificial intelligence, health monitors, fall detection, language translation, and more.
- Variable Costs. The overall cost of hearing aids is dependent on the type of device and professional services provided, and there is a broad array of options to fit individual budgets and lifestyles.2 Prescription hearing aids are available in basic, standard, advanced, and premium levels, with the level of technology and additional optional features impacting the cost of the device. When fit by a hearing care professional, their services (consultation, evaluation, fitting, customized molding, testing appointments, adjustments, warranties, and follow-ups) add to the manufacturing cost. A new pathway, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, is expected soon. OTC hearing aids will be sold without professional services to adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss and may provide a lower cost option.
- Overwhelming Satisfaction. Innovation, technology, and quality pays off as hearing aids tend to meet, and often exceed, expectations for hearing aid users. In fact, a survey of over 15,000 households found that 8 in 10 hearing aid owners are satisfied with their device. And the satisfaction doesn’t stop there, with 91% of hearing aid users expressing satisfaction with their hearing professional.
- Check your Coverage. According to our research, just over half of hearing aid owners had some assistance covering the cost (Medicare Advantage, insurance, VA, Medicaid, union, or other). For example, approximately 97% of Medicare Advantage enrollees have access to some hearing health benefits.3 While original Medicare (fee-for-service) does not provide hearing aid coverage, it does provide coverage for cochlear implants for those who meet selection criteria. If you’re a veteran, check with the VA about available audiology and hearing aid services. And if you have private insurance, check your plan. The state you live in may even require minimum coverage for hearing health services and treatment, including hearing aids.
Interested in learning more? Checking out our hearing health resources or find a hearing professional at hearing.org.
1 Powers, T. and Carr, K. MarkeTrak 2022: Navigating the changing landscape of hearing healthcare. Hearing Review. 2022; 29(5): 12-17.