Are Hearing Aids Covered By Insurance In 2024?


Medically Reviewed

Abigail Friend is a board-certified audiologist based in Washington.
Abigail Friend, Au.D. Audiologist
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About 15% of U.S. adults say they have some difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders[1]. When left untreated, hearing loss is associated with a host of other issues, including difficulty communicating, feelings of social isolation, loneliness and depression, and increased risk of dementia. Conversely, addressing hearing loss appropriately, often with the use of hearing aids, is tied to improved communication, better quality of life and a lower risk of falls, dementia and hospitalizations.

The expenses associated with hearing aids can be daunting, causing some to not seek treatment. However, there are certain insurance plans that offer coverage. Read on to learn more about what health insurance coverage for hearing aids tends to look like.

What Is a Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is a wearable device that makes sound louder so people with various degrees of hearing loss can hear and communicate better in different listening situations.

A hearing aid typically consists of a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. The microphone receives sound and converts the sound waves into electrical signals and then sends them to the amplifier. The amplifier enhances the signals and sends them to the ear through the speaker.

Hearing aids may also have advanced components that offer additional features like noise reduction, tinnitus management and directional hearing for a more personalized hearing experience. Advanced features typically add to the cost of hearing aids.

Why Hearing Aids Are Essential

If someone suspects they have any degree of hearing loss, they should get their hearing tested as soon as possible to assess their potential need for hearing aids, says Amy Bishop, Au.D., a corporate audiologist at Lucid Hearing.

“Anyone, regardless of age, can have some level of hearing loss, but as we age, the probability of having a hearing impairment increases,” she says. One-third of U.S. adults over 65 years old have hearing loss, and 50% have hearing loss by age 75, says Dr. Bishop.

Hearing aids enable individuals with hearing loss to hear conversations, have social interactions and better engage in daily activities, says Laura Purdy, M.D., a board-certified family medicine physician based in Tennessee.

Beyond improved social connectivity, hearing aid use can also significantly bolster brain health. A 2023 study in The Lancet found that hearing aid use can significantly reduce the risk of dementia[2].

Are Hearing Aids Covered by Insurance?

Hearing aids usually aren’t covered by health insurance, which can be a significant reason why many people choose to go without them despite a hearing loss diagnosis. However, some private insurance providers, Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans and Medicaid can offer coverage.

Some private insurance providers, such as UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana, may offer coverage for hearing aids, either partially or entirely, depending on the plan. However, according to Dr. Bishop, when private health insurance plans offer hearing aid coverage, it’s often in the form of a discount program that doesn’t include long-term follow-up care.

Jen Thomson Au.D., an audiologist at Columbus Speech and Hearing in Ohio, adds that hearing aid benefits from private insurance providers may only be redeemable with certain hearing health care providers or at certain locations.

Medicare generally doesn’t cover hearing aids, hearing aid fittings or routine hearing tests. However, if a health care provider requests hearing and balance tests to determine whether a person requires further medical attention, Medicare Part B does cover the cost of those diagnostics. Without a health care provider’s order, Medicare covers the cost of seeing an audiologist once every 12 months for non-acute hearing conditions and surgically treated hearing loss-related diagnostic services. With that said, Medicare Part B doesn’t cover hearing aids themselves.

Certain Medicare Advantage plans may offer benefits not covered by Original Medicare, including the cost of hearing tests, hearing aids and fittings and repairs for the devices. Coverage varies by provider and plan and, similarly to private health insurance, coverage is often available in the form of a discount program rather than a standard benefit and doesn’t typically include long-term follow-up care.

Medicaid, a joint federal and state program providing health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, older adults, pregnant people and people with disabilities, pays for hearing aids for Medicaid beneficiaries under the age of 21. However, each state’s Medicaid coverage policy determines whether the program covers hearing aids for adults. States that provide Medicaid coverage for hearing aids for adults include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida and Hawaii.

How to Find Hearing Aid Discounts

Many people shy away from hearing aids because of how expensive they are. According to survey data from OnePoll and Forbes Health, 35% of respondents said they don’t wear hearing aids due to the costs—which often run in the range of $4,000 up to $8,000 for a more advanced pair.

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids—which are self-fitted, limited in personalization options and don’t include follow-up care or services—are more affordable and can be purchased for as low as $99 per pair, says Dr. Bishop.

Meanwhile, shoppers can access hearing aid discounts through manufacturer or retailer promotions, as well as financing solutions like payment plans or rental agreements, says Dr. Purdy. Promotions and discounts tend to be more prominent around holidays. Inquiring about ongoing discounts or special offers before buying is always smart, she adds. Some organizations also offer grants for free hearings aids for older adults in need.

People who are eligible can also seek financial support from organizations supporting those with hearing loss, recommends Dr. Purdy. Organizations like the Miracle-Ear Foundation, Help America Hear and the National Hearing Aid Project may provide free or discounted hearing aids to low-income individuals with hearing loss.

Membership discounts from organizations like AAA and AARP can also help lower the cost of hearing aids. According to Dr. Bishop, the best way to find an affordable solution is to make an appointment with an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser to discuss budget-friendly options that best suit one’s hearing loss diagnosis.

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