It is no secret that hearing aids are expensive. My patients remind me of that on a regular basis, but because the cost of hearing loss is significantly higher, I like to help them weigh the benefits of hearing aids against their cost. It also helps to point out that hearing aids are not just another electronic gadget. Like you, most of my patients are not aware of what all goes into the cost of hearing aids such as research and development, technological advancement, warranty protection, and ongoing professional care.
Research and Development
If you have noticed that modern hearing aids differ significantly from their bulky, old-school predecessors, then you will understand how the cost of hearing aids includes ongoing research and development. Research allows hearing aid designers and manufacturers to better understand hearing loss and its impact on those who suffer from it. From this research, developers work to overcome challenges associated with hearing aids, their use, and their effectiveness. Integrating micro-digital technology, developing better lightweight materials and molding techniques used to improve comfort, and various other advancements are a few examples of how research and development contributes to improved hearing aid performance. The billions spent to arrive where we are today appear within the cost of the devices.
Because of research and development, today’s hearing aids are far more technologically advanced than they were only a decade ago. Micro-digital technology has allowed them to perform with higher clarity while reducing bulkiness and material, and forming technological advancements have added to making them lightweight, better contoured, easier to use, and much more discreet and comfortable to wear. In addition, modern hearing aids apply various advantages from state-of-the-art technologies allowing for:
- the capacity to connect your hearing aid to your smartphone
- seamless wireless connections to other household technologies using Bluetooth
- filtering and blocking out background noises
- dampening or preventing the amplification of unnecessary sounds
These advancements increase the benefits you receive from your hearing aids. They add to the cost of hearing aids, but also to the value they add to your quality of life.
As with all electronic devices, things go wrong, and when they do, a warranty protects your investment. The warranty that comes with your hearing aid allows for replacement or repair of defective units, usually due to a manufacturing glitch, but it often protects some patient care and usage errors. Regular cleaning and adjustments, best performed by professionals, help you get the most out of your hearing aids. These maintenance items are another aspect of warranty protection, adding to the cost, but providing you with the very best return on your investment.
Ongoing Professional Care
Hearing aids purchased through big box outlets, wholesale suppliers, and hearing aid dispensers might save you a buck or two, but you will not receive other benefits associated with ongoing, professional hearing health care. Audiologists have the expertise in selecting the right type and style of hearing aid to meet your specific form of hearing loss. They focus on a good fit, improving your comfort, and encouraging you through the adjustment period while providing troubleshooting and maintenance. Doctors of audiology also evaluate effectiveness and provide overall hearing health care to meet your unique needs. This ongoing professional care is also part of the cost as well as the value built into your hearing aids.
As with any investment, there is a balance between cost and the benefits received from it. Because of research and development, advancements in technology, warranty protection, and ongoing professional care, hearing aids cost a lot, but they provide priceless benefits. When I counsel my Audiology and Hearing Aids Associates patients concerning the cost of hearing aids, I encourage them to compare the value they add to their quality of life with the cost of going without.
Contact me for more information about the cost of hearing aids custom selected and fitted by the Audiology and Hearing Aids Associates team to meet your unique needs.