Some of us older academics are having aging issues, loss of hearing being one of them. Hearing aids seem to be very expensive and way overpriced at the neighborhood audiology office. What is the experience of similar folks in buying hearing aids and getting support? For example, I’ve heard Costco sells good, inexpensive “non-rip off” hearing aids- but the sample size is 2-3. Also, any experiences with insurance coverage?
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals! Get medical advice from real professionals and/or do your own research before making any important healthcare decisions.
My father has a hearing aid from Costco. He put off getting one for decades because, as you say, the neighborhood audiology office is expensive, but finally decided Costco was a good enough deal. He seems happy with it. So, that’s another N=1.
My FIL has the overpriced audiology version and he seems happy with it.
Both of them complain that it’s hard to separate out voices in a crowded room, and both tend to turn theirs off at restaurants or other crowded locations (my FIL tends to use restaurant time as time to catch up on napping). Technology may have improved since they got their aids though, I don’t know.
Consumer reports reviews hearing aids, so you might want to look into what they have to say (they do like Costco’s Kirkland brand). This article talks a bit about the pros and cons of Costco hearing aids.
In terms of insurance coverage, that will vary across plans so it’s probably easiest to give your insurance carrier a call and ask if it isn’t clear in the plan info provided by your university (or by wherever you get your insurance). Some states only require that insurance provide hearing aid coverage for children. Others include adults. Many states don’t require it at all. You can get more information here. Many insurance plans will cover the screening but not the aids themselves. But again, it’s something that varies by plan.
Grumpy Nation: Do you have any better information than we have? Do you or a loved one have experiences with hearing aids that you could share?