I belong to 4 or 5 deaf community groups on Facebook, and I spend about 15-30 minutes a day viewing what others are writing and writing responses. We really do live in an amazing time when we can sit in our pajamas and connect with anyone as if they were in the same room. Some of the interesting topics discussed have included ear wax, ear infections, sad stories of people losing their hearing suddenly and frequently, arguments about wearing hearing aids vs. reading lips, different opinions about cochlear implants and other new hearing aid technology, and how to pay for hearing aids.
The cost of hearing aids is one of the most common topics in these online discussions. Hearing aids are very expensive and most health insurance, if you have insurance, doesn’t cover much. The cost typically depends on the severity of your hearing loss; audiologists have three price ranges: low, medium, and high. The majority of people with hearing loss will fit into the medium and high range, meaning they find words difficult to decipher and sounds difficult to hear (see chart below).
The typical cost for hearing aids is between $1500 to $7000. The type of hearing aid features you want and the severity of hearing loss they have to offset will increase the cost. There are state programs that can lend assistance, but not everyone can qualify and there are strict guidelines. Here is but one example:
Hearing Program Qualifications
To qualify for the Lighthouse Hearing Aid Program you must:
It is good to know each State has something available for those who want hearing aids and can’t afford them, but what if you don’t qualify for State aid? What if you make too much money for State assistance but will still have trouble covering the expense? Let me share the story of how my wife and I did it - a typical middle-income family.
When I meet my wife I had horrible spending habits. I loved to shop, eat out at expensive restaurants, buy new cars, and buy whatever I wanted. When we got married we both had debt and it only increased over the years. There were times when a paycheck wouldn’t cover much because debtors would call and we had to pay. It was about five years ago, in Georgia, I finally threw up my hands and said enough. I was tired of being several thousand dollars in debt. I had to do something. It’s funny how timing works, because the moment I broke down and said, “Enough is enough!” my friend from church called and said he had a ticket for me to go see this guy Dave Ramsey. I had heard of Dave Ramsey but never really paid attention. After four to five years of a lot of penny watching, not overspending, learning new money habits, and prayer we have not only paid off $60K but have an emergency fund. We have been debt free for a year or two now. What does all this have to do with my ears? In April 2012, when I lost my hearing suddenly, I knew eventually I would have to get some sort of device, whether cochlear implant or hearing aids. Well it turned out I needed hearing aids and my income is too high for State programs. Trust me, I checked each program. My only option was to use my health insurance and pay half for my hearing aids, which was about $4K-5K. What would someone do in my position if they didn’t have an emergency fund?
I actually had to pay $8K upfront and wait for my health insurance to reimburse me. Fortunately, thanks to the effort my wife and I made to become debt free, we were able to go to the bank and take out cash to pay for them. I was able to choose what type I wanted and what audiologist I wanted - not the other way around. You may be set financially. Or you might need to hit rock bottom like I did before finally saying “enough is enough.” If you are at that point, complete the contact form below. I would like to send you Dave Ramsey’s free “Seven Baby Steps” that helped me.
Who: Anyone can enter
When: February 26th to March 5, 2013
1st Place Will Win: Deaf-Insight T-Shirt and Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover
2nd and 3rd Place will win Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover
Everyone that responds to my post will receive “Seven Baby Steps” by Dave Ramsey.
Judging: Me, Monica Hood (Owner of Deaf-Insight)
Winners will be announced March 12th.
1. Read my blog post completely.
2. Write two paragraphs:
a. write one paragraph response on how you feel about the cost of hearing aids.
b. write another paragraph what your life would be like if you were debt-free or if you debt free share your experience what it is like to be without debt.
3. Complete the contact form
4. Share my post with others
Good luck and thank you for reading my story.
My name is Jeff Swartz and I live in Atlanta, GA. I am married to wonderful wife and have two teenaged daughter.