Recommended replacement interval?

Coming up on Medicare enrollment, and have to choose between additional plans offered by my previous employer. Some cover 80% of the cost of hearing aids once every 3 years - no restriction on brand/model. Other plans cover only $500 per year. And of course, there are the discount plans with no coverage. Premiums naturally vary widely.

What’s the generally accepted “life span” of a set of quality aids? (Currently Phonak Q90’s). Trying to evaluate what I may have to pay out of pocket if I go with a lower priced plan vs. paying the premium to stay current with technologies/prudent replacement/etc.

Many get 5 or more years. Some like to replace earlier. Clinics costs are typically 3-7000. The 500/yr is a gimmick rather than a value. With the 20% copay, you are talking 6-1400 plus the cost of the added coverage. You can compare that to someplace like Costco to see cost effectiveness.

Useful longevity has much more to do with continued loss of hearing than it does useful life of the aid itself. If you continue to lose your hearing abilities, what you wear today may not be able to handle the tasks in five years. Most audiologists will recommend an aid that has built in “growth” capabilities, but over the years, hearing aid manufacturers will continue to get better at what they produce, so in three to five years, you may like the newer features and designs enough to call your old ones “done”.

Like automobiles, styles change, along with bells and whistles, and performance, but what you have now can be repaired or rebuilt for decades to come. Having a plan that allows for replacement every three to five years is an awesome way to always be up with the latest technologies and performances, but if that comes with a hard to cover premium, then you are buying a plan that can well be done without.

Let’s put a calculator to the equation. Let’s say the average cost of good quality aids is $6000, and you WANT to change them every three years. Your insurance covers 80% of that cost, which is $4800, and you pay the remaining $1200. For it to be an even wash, the premiums for your HA coverage insurance would have to be $1600 per year (133 per month), for a total outlay of 2 grand a year (premiums plus a third of the 20%).

My Brother-in-law used to have every three year replacement coverage through his work. He took full advantage of that benefit and always had the latest and greatest aids. Now that he’s retired, and no longer has that coverage, he’s happy with what he’s got.

I’ve had my HA for five years. Like everything from TV sets to cell phones, five-year-old technology is considered obsolete, to some extent. Although Bluetooth technology was quite mature five years ago, it wasn’t introduced into HA until the past couple of years. In the course of the business day, I am on my cell phone quite a bit. I have worn a Bluetooth headset for years, long before I got my HA. Now that it appears that HA manufacturers are beginning to make use of Bluetooth technology, I am thinking of replacing my five-year-old HA even though they work perfectly fine. Unfortunately, it appears that Phonak, which claims that my model is compatible with their use of bluetooth, it turns out they require you to hold the phone within 4 to 8 inches of your ear. Another manufacturer, I think it was Starkey, only works via Bluetooth with a few phone models. Siemens seems to be more advanced than the others.

The VA will replace aids every four years… I’m sure they have stats to bare out replace vs repair.

I’m on my second pair. I got 5 years out of the first. BTW: My first were Phonaks (even older than the Q90) and I had a Bluetooth streamer (iCom). That worked up to about 20 ft away from the phone. The Q90’s are compatible with the ComPilot (newer version of iCom). This is a device you wear around your neck and the antennae is the neckloop itself. That antennae has to be close to your HA’s because it sends signals to your HA’s by induction.

That’s probably the limitation you heard about. If you are wearing the Compilot with your HA, it’ll connect with your phone from 20 ft away, just fine (typical BT range).

I had to replace or service my old HA’s and it wasn’t 100 % that the service would correct the problem. I was at the upper limit of the HA’s power on my right side anyhow. So I elected to get a new pair…partially because of the new technology. RIC was just starting to be a thing when I last got aids and I got BTE’s with microtubes for my first ones. Now RIC seems to be more of the standard and that is the style I have now.

Good luck

Evil.