Recent Blog Articles
Why are women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease?
Seeing red? 4 steps to try before responding
Tics and TikTok: Can social media trigger illness?
Pandemic challenges may affect babies — possibly in long-lasting ways
4 immune-boosting strategies that count right now
If you have knee pain, telehealth may help
How to address opposition in young children
New study investigates treatment-associated regrets in prostate cancer
Minimizing successes and magnifying failures? Change your distorted thinking
Are poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly plants dangerous?
Should you consider a low-cost hearing-aid alternative?
Some personal sound amplification products may perform as well as costlier hearing aids.
Image: © shironosov/Thinkstock
If you're hearing more about hearing lately, there's a reason. In October 2015 the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report on the sorry state of hearing in the United States. In June 2016, the National Academy of Sciences came to similar conclusions. Both acknowledged that as many as 85% of people with hearing loss aren't wearing hearing aids, citing two significant barriers to better hearing — the FDA requirement for having a hearing test before you purchase a hearing aid and the cost of the devices, averaging $1,000 to $3,000 per ear.
Why hearing aids cost so much
One of the reasons hearing aids have been so expensive is that the process of adjusting them is often bundled with the cost of the devices themselves. Medicare — and most other insurers — don't cover either hearing aids or the tests required to adjust them, but they do cover a hearing and balance exam that can distinguish age-related hearing loss from a hearing impairment that stems from an underlying condition. Dr. Mark Sanders, an audiologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, recommends getting that initial exam. "Anytime you suspect you have a hearing loss, it's always best to seek out a professional to get a legitimate diagnostic test. That way, you can determine if it's necessary to get a medical evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat physician," he says.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!