Why are hearing aids so expensive? This is a commonly asked question among people with a hearing loss. How is it possible that these medical devices cost so much? In today’s blog, we hope to address this question.
The Cost of a Hearing Aid is No More than the Cost of a Cup of Coffee a Day
While hearing aids are expensive devices, the hearing aid user must only worry about the initial cost once every three to five years. Hearing aids are warrantied by the manufacturer for at least three years and are usually covered under a three-year service plan with the clinic the patient makes the purchase with. The upfront cost may seem high; however, the cost truly only boils down to what you might pay for a cup of coffee per day… no pun intended 😊. Let us break it down further. If the out-of-pocket expense for a pair of mid-level hearing aids is around $3500, and the hearing aid user wears the hearing aids for about 5 years, the cost ends up being about $2.20 per day (which includes any post warranty maintenance fees)! Most hearing aid users replace their hearing aids in the 3-5-year mark, but some people keep them longer, reducing the overall cost per day even more. This is a low expense when the overall benefits of hearing loss to emotional, social, and cognitive health are taken into consideration.
Additionally, it is important to note that many hearing clinics (The Hearing Room included) offer various financing plans for patients who may require one, or for patients who prefer to break up payments over time.
You Might be Losing More than Your Hearing
The research on untreated hearing loss and the potential health risks to the brain and other health issues is quite staggering. Research has shown that those with untreated hearing loss have higher incidences of anxiety and depression, and also report more feelings of dependence, isolation, anger and confusion as compared to those with normal hearing. The research also seems to indicate a link between dementia and cognitive decline. Not only do those with untreated hearing loss seem to have an accelerated rate of cognitive decline compared to their normal hearing counterparts, (about a 30-40% faster decline), the risk factor increased with the severity of the untreated hearing loss. Those who have a severe untreated hearing loss are 5x more likely to develop cognitive decline or dementia as compared to their normal hearing peers.
Untreated Hearing Loss and Brain Tissue Loss
This may be surprising, but untreated hearing loss effects brain tissue and results in increased brain tissue atrophy (or brain tissue shrinkage). Research has shown that individuals with untreated hearing loss lost an additional cubic centimeter of brain tissue per year, as compared to their normal hearing counterparts. The areas of brain tissue loss were predominantly in the regions that process speech and sound. If the brain is being deprived of sound because of hearing loss, it makes sense that the areas of the brain responsible for processing speech and sound will get smaller and shrink over time due to the lack of stimulation. As the saying goes…if you don’t use it, you lose it. When it comes to auditory deprivation, hearing loss and the brain, it appears this sentiment applies all too well.
Treating your Hearing Loss can Improve your Health
Hearing aids are expensive, but research suggests we might be in greater trouble with our overall health if we choose to avoid or delay treatment of hearing loss. Newer studies have demonstrated that in addition to hearing aids attenuating the accelerated cognitive decline exhibited by those with untreated hearing loss, they also can slow dementia by 75%! That is an astonishing statistic. If you have hearing loss but feel as if hearing aids are out of your reach due to financial restraints, talk to your audiologist. Hearings aids come in many technology levels, and it is likely that your audiologist will be able to find one that accommodates both your budget and hearing loss needs.
If you have more questions or are interested in learning more, call The Hearing Room. We are always happy to help! Better hearing is waiting for you!