Need a Hearing Aid but Can’t Afford One? Here's What To Do
January 27, 2022

Hearing is a very important sense that may be taken for granted until the moment you begin to lose it. While it can be unfortunate to lose your hearing, there are things you can do to help regain as much normalcy as possible, including getting a set of hearing aids. 

Unfortunately for many, hearing aids may not be covered under insurance, and the hearing aids you’ll find at an audiologist’s office are likely priced astronomically. Most people who need hearing aids are well into retirement, and with that comes the limitations of a fixed income. These factors have led to hearing aid use to stay relatively low, even though hearing loss prevalence increases with an aging population. 

If you find that you need hearing aids but can’t afford them, you are not alone. While those expensive hearing aids that you will find at the audiologist may be out of your price range, there are plenty of other ways you can continue on with your day and still enjoy the things you love to do.

Below is a closer look at what to do when you cannot afford hearing aids. 

Determine What You Need and Don’t

One of the best things you can do when in the market for hearing aids is to determine what features you are looking for out of your hearing aids and to go from there. A great example of how this could save you money is the differences between prescription tone amplifying hearing aids and standard amplifying hearing aids. 

Many prescription hearing aids are programable to help amplify the specific tones that you had difficulty perceiving in a hearing test. While this can be desired, it is often expensive and can require fine-tuning and frequent adjustment at the audiologist’s office.

On the flip side, over-the-counter amplifying hearing aids amplify tones across the sound range and are more of a turn-key option for those just looking to quickly and inexpensively get back some of their hearing. 

A great strategy is to shop around and see what features you like from specific models and create a running list of needs and wants out of your hearing aids. With a list, you can more effectively shop for the perfect set for your budget and needs. 

Asses Your Options

Typically people who are new to assistive listening devices like hearing aids are only shown options within the audiologist’s office. The typical scenario is that you go into the office, discover you have hearing loss, and the audiologist tries to sell you on their prescription hearing aid. These prescription hearing aids tend to be more expensive, making you think that they are out of your budget altogether. 

While certain hearing aids such as prescriptions can come with hefty price tags, there are a number of over-the-counter options that you can choose from and that accommodate your budget.

Here is a look at three different hearing aids at different price points to consider. Having options at different price points can allow you to get the best solution at your given price range. 

EV1

The Audien EV1 is amongst the most cost-efficient hearing aids to hit the market. As a sub $100 dollar hearing aid, you truly get a lot for your money. The EV1 comes in an appealing small form factor and has what you’d come to expect from a hearing aid.

This includes crisp, clear sound, the ability to recharge them, and an in-ear design. At a sub $100 price point, you will be hard-pressed to find another option that is as capable and less expensive. 

EV3

The Audien EV3 builds upon the tried and true platform of the EV1 but delivers even more features. The EV3 comes in at $200 for the pair and what you get for your money is unrivaled by the competition. 

The EV3 is smaller, more comfortable, and has Clear Sound+ when compared to the EV1. These changes make day-to-day living with these hearing aids even more of a joy. The quick wireless charging allows you to quickly take them out at night and place them on the stand without the need to fiddle with a cable.  

Atom Pro

The Audien Atom Pro is Audiens flagship hearing aid, but coming in at the quarter of the price of other prescription hearing aids, it is still quite the value. The Atom Pro can be thought of as the next step up from the EV3.

The Atom Pro is Audien’s smallest-sized hearing aids yet. This can help you to get that near-invisible hearing aid appearance that you would pay a small fortune for elsewhere. 

In addition to its small form factor, the Atom Pro has clever features, such as enhanced feedback cancellation and a portable charging case. A portable case can allow you to travel freely without having to lug around a bulky and cumbersome charger. The case has a closing lid so that it not only acts as a means of charging on the go but a convenient storage container to keep your hearing aids from getting lost. 

Things To Do in the Meantime

If you are awaiting your order for over-the-counter hearing aids or simply need more time to save, there are actions you can take now to make the world around you more accessible and to not miss out on the things going on around you.

Below is a closer look at those actions you can take now to help you get by while you save for your hearing aids. 

Let Others Around You Know You Are Hearing-Impared

The first thing you should do is let those that are frequently around you know that you have been diagnosed with a hearing impairment. Being hard of hearing is nothing to be ashamed of. Updating the people around you on your hearing can help them better understand what you are going through, and they can then do their best to accommodate you.

Letting the people around you know that you may have a hard time hearing them will allow them to understand that you are not intentionally ignoring them. It will help them to be more patient and reiterate what they say if needed.

Create Good Listening Environments

One challenge that many hard-of-hearing individuals face is trying to listen when there are competing noises in the environment. A noisy crowd, a tv show in the background, or other noises can make it much harder for them to hear what is being said. 

An optimal listening environment is one that is free of competing noises and where they can see the speaker. These two small changes can allow for a person that is hard of hearing to have a better time reading lips and picking up on what is being said. 

Use Closed Captions

Another helpful tool you can utilize is closed captions when you are enjoying a movie, show, or other forms of content. Closed captions allow you to follow along with others without needing to crank the volume up to a level that may be discomforting to others. 

Today closed captions are available on nearly every digital platform, and there are even some softwares that can auto-generate captions so you can enjoy whatever it is that you would normally do with full auditory acuity. 

Research Financial Assistance

Another thing you can do in the meantime is see if there are any local resources that could help you afford a set of hearing aids.

Asking your doctor, local community leaders, or other resources could potentially point you in the direction of an organization that may help you pay for hearing aids. Seniors, veterans, and others in a protected class may be able to seek out specific assistance that can allow them to afford hearing aids. 

Health Savings Account

Another way you could potentially pay for your hearing aids is if you happen to have an HSA account. A hearing aid is identified as a medical device, and many HSA plans will allow you to spend this money on hearing aids. Before you go out and spend it, make sure to get confirmation that hearing aids are an eligible expense and that it is allowed. 

Help Is Here

In summary, hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars and be immensely inaccessible, especially to those on a fixed income. While hearing aids can be expensive, they don’t have to be. With less expensive over-the-counter options, many people who may have considered hearing aids to be out of reach can get something that can greatly improve their quality of life. 

Audien has a range of different options that can help you get the support you need at your given price range. The EV1, EV3, and Atom Pro Audien have you covered from inexpensive solutions to immensely capable and portable in-ear hearing aids. 


Sources

Access to adults' hearing aids: policies and technologies used in eight countries | NCBI

What If I Already Have Hearing Loss? | NCEH | CDC

Improving listening conditions | Reducing background noise | NDCS

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Drew Sutton M.D.

Drew Sutton, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has extensive experience and training in sinus and respiratory diseases, ear and skull base surgery, and pulmonary disorders. He has served as a Clinical Instructor at Grady Hospital Emory University for more than 12 years.

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