Hearing aid costs

My brother has some hearing problems that are getting worse with age. I find myself having to yell at him sometimes. He went to an audiologist years ago and was told that he needs a multi-channel hearing aid that would cost $5,000. Insurance won’t cover hearing aids.

He’s been told that the cheap ones you see advertised on TV could actually make his hearing worse, which does make sense to me.

Have costs gone down at all in recent years? $5000 seems ridiculous to me. Can’t frequencies be filtered by software? Why would it cost so much?

Are there any charities that help with this kind of thing?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I don’t consider this asking for medical advice. Obviously a qualified person would have to decide what he needs. But once he has a prescription, is there any way to lower his costs?

Is he on Medicare? If so, I believe it covers hearing aids. If not, check at Costco; they have a hearing aid center in some (perhaps all?) stores. Walmart is another place that might be good for cheaper hearing aids. If he’s not a Costco member, the savings might be more than enough to pay for a membership, at least for one year.

How could cheap hearing aids make your hearing worse? Sorry but I really don’t see how that would work.

I’ve always read that you can get Costco hearing aids without being a member. Same with their pharmacy and optical.

If your brother is retired military, he can get premium hearing aids costing thousands at cost.

Cheap hearing aids amplify all sounds rather than just the frequencies where you’re deficient. This could make the frequencies that don’t require amplification too loud and thus damage those parts of your hearing. At least that’s how he explained it to me.

He was never in the military and he’s not yet on Medicare. I’ll suggest Costco and Walmart.

Currently, in the U.S., you can only get actual hearing aids with a prescription from a doctor, and good ones can be very expensive. Some “sound amplification products” can be purchased over-the-counter, but they aren’t true hearing aids.

The FDA is currently developing new regulations for over-the-counter hearing aids, which is expected to both (a) increase competition by allowing new entrants and new technologies into the market, and (b) lower prices. However, OTC hearing aids aren’t yet available.

But you can’t get into the building without showing your membership card. Seems unlikely that there would be goods or services available inside that didn’t require a membership. And if you can, it makes no sense to me.

Looks like you’re right:

Do I need to be a Costco member to have my hearing tested?

Yes. Use of Costco Hearing Aid Center services is a benefit of being a Costco member.

No, Medicare does not cover any hearing aid costs. They will pay for a hearing test by an audiologist but only with a physician’s referral.

Costco would be a very good bet for the lowest cost hearing aids and well worth the minimal annual cost of a membership. There is a $60 personal membership. Consumer Reports speaks well of their hearing, optical and pharmacy services.

I paid almost $5000 for my hearing aids. Costco sells that same brand with comparable features for less than half that much. When I need to replace these, Costco is where I will start out.

You can use the pharmacy without being a member. And in some states, you can buy beer, wine and liquor without a membership.


How does that work for military at cost hearing ads? I was told that you needed to have the hearing loss documented while still on active duty,

While OTC are not available yet, online purchases are available.

A Costco membership would be worthwhile even without the hearing aid. I may buy a membership for myself and let him use it.

Based on the article you cite, it sounds like this is only true in states where the laws require Costco to do so.

My hearing aid, without which I’m totally fucked, was right around $5,000. Five years ago, after owning it for five years, our aptly named dog Loki crunched it to bits. Replacement was another $5k.

That might not work if your name is on the card…

They did tell me that if I decided not to keep my membership for the entire year, they’d refund the pro-rated balance.

This just came out from Bose. Looks promising but I can’t say myself.

“SoundControl Hearing Aids | Bose” SoundControl Hearing Aids | Bose

Wow, looks interesting - $850 per pair.

That is correct, your friend can go with you and select the hearing aids, but you are supposed to be the one to pay for them (assuming you are the member). The card could get him in the store (they only glance at it) but at least sometimes the cashier checks the photo on the back of the card.