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Free and low-cost ways to address hearing loss

Written by Diane Archer

While our hearing is likely to weaken with age, there are things we can do to address hearing loss.  Hearing aids can be very expensive—as much as $3500 for a single hearing aid and most people need one for each ear.  Batteries are also expensive—as much as $150.  So, you want to be sure you really need them.  If you do, here are ways to keep your costs down.

If you think you need hearing aids, these resources may help keep your costs down.

  • Get a free annual wellness exam with Medicare.  Medicare covers an annual wellness exam in full so there’s every reason to make an appointment. During your visit, make sure that the doctor checks you for hearing impairments as well as your likelihood of falling.  While Medicare will not pay for a hearing aid, the doctor can tell you whether you really need one.
  • If you qualify for Medicaid, check the Kaiser Family Foundation web site to see whether Medicaid covers hearing aids in your state.  If you’re a Vet, the VA may cover your hearing aids depending upon the degree of your hearing loss or the cause of your hearing loss.
  • Starkey Hearing Foundation may help pay for hearing aids. Contact Starkey’s Hear Now program at 800-328-8602. Through the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Hear Now might be able to provide you with good hearing aids at low cost.
  • The Lions Club’s Affordable Hearing Aids project also might be able to help you get low-cost hearing aids. Contact the Lions Club to see if the Lions Club has a project in your state.
  • Sertoma, a civic, service organization, whose mission is hearing health, offers a list of organizations that help people who need hearing aids.
  • The Better Hearing Institute offers a free Guide to Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids, providing 47 different resources for securing help.
  • State assistive technology programs may loan you equipment, loan you money to buy equipment, or offer information and referral services. To learn about your state’s programs, contact the Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance.

Note: The price of hearing aids should be coming down. The FDA recently has approved the sale of hearing aids over the counter, without a prescription. Experts believe that once you can get hearing aids without a prescription, costs should come down significantly.

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