The Real Cost of Hearing Aids?

I am a veteran with military related hearing loss, I get my aids from the VA and I have two set of aids that are one generation apart, but due to my audiologist magic at adjusting them they are basically interchangeable. When I go into an appointment I take both sets of aids and they are both adjusted as needed. I can hear things without my aids but can’t understand conversations, and even with my aids I still have to know that someone is talking to me before I realize someone is talking to me. I have said it before my aids are just as much apart of me as my glasses are anything else.


If I’m understanding correctly you’re comparing hearing aids that you inherited that were never set up for you with new ones that were programmed for your hearing loss? The programming could make a huge difference, plus the older aids might not have been functioning properly.


We pay for far more than the physical cost of manufacturing the aids. There’s research that goes into new innovations for example. this isn’t trivial. Aid have become much better over the last several decades. Bluetooth etc. has been built in to accommodate smart phones and laptops. sound quality is better. All this has to be designed. My guess is that the cost of manufacturing is not all that much. It may be cheaper to send out a new aid than pay to have it repaired. Plus it’s good PR.
The companies want to recoup their initial investment and the cost of running a design program looking for innovation. Hence the large initial cost to the consumer.


The original purchase price includes the cost of manufacture and the prorated burden of the entire Phonak corporate structure, plus ditto for the audiologist firm. The replacement cost of $700 is more related to the actual cost of production and the processing of the claim. And there may also be some added profit for Phonak baked into their repair/replacement cost structure - these companies don’t like to take losses on any sorts of transactions,

If we are paying for audiologist services - why is there such a wide variance for the cost.

The manufacturers are very secretive about the price audiologists pay.

Audiologists are very secretive about the price they pay also.

That’s why I have somewhat negative feelings about the whole thing. It continues to remind me of my negative experiences shopping for a car back when I was employed and had money.
There’s the Manufacturers suggested price, the windows sticker price, the price of the “deal” the car salesman offers. So many prices and nobody knows (or is saying) which one is a fair price. It was hard to believe there were any “truth in lending” practices involved in buying a car. And now I have that same skepticism about hearing aid shopping. And hearing aids are not a luxury item so there should be some protection when buying them.

Unless I’m delusional and/or wrong - there used to be laws about price fixing etc. And if there are they should apply across the board whatever is being bought/sold.

How much of the cost of research is subsidized by government which happens with research for new drugs to remedy this condition or that. I’m not saying hearing aids are or aren’t but I wonder anyway.



Say the secret woid - a game show hosted by Karl Marx - oh wait I think it was one of the Marx other brothers.

(Each audiologist / business can choose the price themselves. You’re not just paying for the Aids, you’re also paying for their service and experience. )

The secret woid here is CHOOSE … audiologists CHOOSE what they charge and there seems to be few if any regulations that I know of.

I’m not saying ALL audiologists are suspect but left unregulated - its the reason we have laws. But then laws seem to be enforced willy nilly nowadays depending on who / which party is at the top of the heap at the time.

of course not! NO company does. If one goes to a watch repair shop, or a car garage, or anything like that, the workers will charge–that’s how they make their money! I don’t think it’s in any way outlandish that HA manufacturers should charge for their labor and parts.

gas stations, grocery stores, hair salons, used car shops all CHOOSE what they will price too. Not all insurance agencies charge the same fee. You seem to to saying that someone–the government–should set prices that would be standard among all audiologists and hearing aid companies. where else does this happen in the market?: Even in health care and hospital costs, prices can vary widely. How audis choosing what the charge is tantamount to corruption or quasi illegality or evidence of a cartel escapes me.

Very good point. I still believe they are totally new due to the smaller size.

Makes a lot of sense, for sure. For me, the $700 was a very good investment vs. a repurchase for so much more. It certainly makes the wait for my desired HAs easy to do now!

You make many excellent points, and I particularly like the comparison of HA to car purchasing. I was disappointed whem Saturn folded because I really liked their 1 price model. I don’t begrudge HA companies getting a good ROE (and they have certainly invested some of this into innovative technologies) and I also don’t have any issue with an audiologist getting compensated for his or her skills. What I’d certainly like, though, is more transparency and accounting of exactly what is being purchased. Detail the HAs, office visits, supplies, etc. I’m not a business guy, so I can’t say how this would be structured.

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Yes, I agree TRANSPARENCY is sorely missing. There’s no sign outside the audi’s clinic saying what it costs. You have to poke and prod to get information. Like today I finally got the price for coming in to discuss with the audi which hearing aids will benefit me the most. It’s $75, which seems to me if you are going to order hearing aids that $75 ought to be included in the hearing aid purchase. Because after all, your customers can’t see what’s inside your store, they have to come inside to check the merchandise. And if you are charging them $75 just to get in the door that just doesn’t seem right to me.

Some customers might decide to let their feet do the voting and go find another audiologist not so secretive.

To follow your reasoning, why do I have to pay the audiologist to come to her office for her opinion about which hearing aids I’m going to purchase from her. Why am I charged $75 to get information and advice if she’s charging me for the hearing aids and the advice both. The cost should be in the hearing aid purchase.

75 dollars applied to the purchase price if you buy…if not…75 dollars for advice that you ignored…

Interesting. My audi charges me nothing when I come in looking to buy new hearing aids. Trials are free too. Actually, every adjustment that’s been made since purchase, as well as cleanings, have been free.

There are bundled and unbundled models for hearing aid and services pricing. Want lots of free stuff? The initial price will be very high. Want low prices when you don’t use services much? Decoupling service charges from HA purchase will help. That might be a good thing to figure out first, is a practice decoupled or not?


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The aids themselves don’t cost much if you buy in volume.

I put links to the costs of the VA and the State of Maine in another post.

Small shops will pay a lot more per aid. I don’t know how much though. Maybe someone else can point to numbers for the shop that deals in dozens per month instead of thousands.


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It will vary place to place, but on premium devices from certain manufacturers with zero discounts, I’ve seen it at ~3k CND for one, which is a dramatic shock next to the pricing that the VA or Costco get.


You’re saying $3k CND for one is wholesale price?