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Why are hearing aids so expensive?

So, you’ve had your hearing tested and the hearing clinician has recommended that you get some hearing aids.

Then you get the quote. There’s no sugar-coating it. Hearing aids are expensive.

While there is a range of models to choose from, there’s no getting away from the fact that hearing aids are a serious investment in your health. But they’re essential if you want to stay part of the conversation at work and enjoy the company of family and friends.

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

There are 5 main reasons why hearing aids are expensive:

1. Research and development

Hearing aid manufacturers spend millions every year trying to come up with a better hearing aid.

Through their investment in research and development, they’ve been able to make considerable improvements. The most significant of these breakthroughs has been to help people hear better in noisy environments. They’ve also been able to make hearing aids smaller and more attractive.

More recently, they’ve included Bluetooth technology which connects your hearing aid to your smartphone or TV. It’s like having the power of a computer in these tiny devices.

Hearing aids manufacturers employ large teams of highly skilled professionals – engineers and researchers – to make these innovations. But they come at a cost.

2. Small volume, high price

Hearing aids are not mass-market items.

Compared to a product like the mobile phone, hearing aids are produced in relatively small volumes.

Did you know that there are more mobile phones than there are people in Australia? (Around 1.31 phones for every person). Consumer electronic companies can produce their products at large volumes. This helps bring down the price per item.

But hearing aids have to be customisable for each wearer – and this costs more.

3. A lack of competition

The price of products is generally driven down by competition. But largely due to the high cost of research and development, there are only six major hearing aids manufacturers in the world.

These six hearing aids manufacturers spend millions on innovative products to help people hear better. And this investment is passed onto consumers.

4. Your hearing aid purchase also includes personalised service

When you buy a hearing aid, you’re not just paying for a device that’s ‘off-the-shelf’. To make your hearing aid work for you, it needs to be fully customised to your unique hearing loss.

The price you pay also includes the cost of fitting, programming and ongoing after-care. The cost of this service is bundled in with the cost of the hearing devices.

5. A high standard of care

In Australia, the standard of hearing health care is high. Our hearing care clinicians are required to have professionally recognised qualifications. They also need to undertake continuous education to fit hearing aids in Australia.

It costs money to operate a hearing clinic and provide a good, local community service. The price you pay for your hearing aid pays for the service you get from your hearing aid provider.

What are the options when paying for your hearing aids?

It always pays to be an informed consumer. Here are a few of your options:

  1. Government support for Pensioners – if you’re on a pension, you may be entitled to support for your hearing aid purchase. You can choose a pair of hearing devices that will cost you nothing (that’s right, they’re free to you) – or your government subsidy can reduce the cost of more advanced hearing devices (this is called ‘top-up’).
  2. Private health insurance provides support for hearing aids wearers. Before you buy your hearing aids, check with your health insurance provider to see if you’re covered.
  3. Make sure you’re getting the best price. Not all hearing clinics charge the same price for the same hearing aids. Often an independent hearing clinic (like ours) has more flexibility with pricing. It’s always worth checking that you’re getting a good price and good service.
  4. Maintain your current hearing aid. If you already have a hearing aid, make sure your current hearing aid is working for you before you go out and buy the latest model. Keep your hearing aid clean and visit your local hearing clinic regularly to check that it’s in good condition and programmed correctly.

The big benefits of hearing aids

We’ve focused here on the price of hearing aids. But if you have a hearing loss and don’t do something about it, there’s a real cost. The benefits of wearing hearing aids that work, make them all worth it.

Some of these benefits include:

  • They keep you part of the conversation. You feel connected to others and don’t feel like you’re missing out on what people are saying.
  • They’re good for your overall health. They help you avoid feelings of isolation which can lead to poorer mental and physical health. Maintaining your hearing reduces the risk of dementia, anxiety and depression.
  • Better hearing means you can work effectively and keep earning an income. Or it gives you more options to volunteer if that’s what you want to do.

Get in touch!

If you’re worried about the price of hearing aids and want to talk through all your options, please give us a call on 1300 970 558 to make an appointment online.