Hearing aids can change lives. Today’s hearing aid technology allows manufacturers to develop various types and styles of hearing instruments to accommodate people of all ages and every walk of life. The unfortunate aspect of having hearing aids is the cost.
Costs of hearing aids in Canada are excessive. Though these devices are an investment into your health and lifestyle, they can set you back thousands of dollars per ear. Prices of hearing aids vary due to several factors, including hearing aid manufacturer, province, type of hearing loss, and style of hearing aid.
Financial assistance is available for some people, but most Canadians pay something out-of-pocket. Learning about the contributing factors to hearing aid costs and ways to pay and save will give you a better idea of what to expect before making a purchase.
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Costs of Hearing Aids in Canada
In Canada, the price of hearing aids ranges from $1,200 to $4,400 per device. A premium hearing aid can reach as high as $6,000.
If hearing loss is present in one ear, it’s acceptable to purchase a single device. However, hearing loss usually occurs in both ears, requiring two devices.
It’s advisable to have two hearing aids if you have hearing loss in both ears to help your brain differentiate between different sounds within your environment. Having one ear perform better than the other can create problems with interpreting sounds.
If you have hearing difficulties, you should have your hearing tested at least once a year, more if you feel your hearing is diminishing. Because hearing lessens as years go on, it’s also necessary to replace hearing aids every three to five years, which is an additional expense.
Contributing Factors to Hearing Aid Prices Canada
The wide range of hearing aid prices stems from various factors that create a hierarchy of good-to-best. Buying hearing instruments is not unlike purchasing new eyewear or a cell phone. The devices come in multiple styles and include different features, all contributing to the product’s final price.
Contribution to Health
A hearing aid is an important aspect of your daily life. Without assistance, many people with hearing loss develop a sense of isolation, depression, and frustration.
Having hearing aids also stimulate hearing nerves and prevent cognitive deficits from brain reorganization or shrinkage. As a result, these devices are significant investments into your health and well-being.
Hearing Aid Styles
Because people have different needs and lifestyles, hearing aids are available in a broad range of styles and types. Manufacturers set prices according to the instruments’ technology level and style, which include:
- CIC or completely-in-canal
- ITC or in-the-canal
- ITE or in-the-ear
- BTE or behind-the-ear
- RITE or receiver in the ear
The most basic hearing device has minimal background noise reduction. However, premium options offer the highest level of background noise reduction and amplify crucial speech cues. The latter option is also adjustable by hearing professionals to accommodate your listening needs.
Professional Hearing Care
If you choose to purchase a hearing instrument from a healthcare facility, you are paying for the device and the expertise of the hearing professional. They have the knowledge and training to help you make the most informed decision regarding the best hearing aid for your needs.
Hearing care professionals also provide follow-up care to ensure that your hearing aids are performing as intended. They are available to address concerns, and if problems arise with your hearing or devices, they can give you the care you need. As a result, instruments from healthcare clinics tend to cost more than those from retailers.
Cosmetic and Occupational Concerns
Sizes of hearing aids vary as well. Superpower hearing aids tend to come with larger batteries to accommodate people with severe hearing impairment. These devices tend to be more noticeable, but the larger battery means less frequent battery replacements.
For people who prefer to have discreet devices, small batteries in sizes 10 and 312 are the best options. CIC and ITC hearing aid styles work best for those sizes.
An active young person may not need the same type of hearing device as a retired senior. Busy people with hearing impairment can benefit from premium hearing aids that use advanced algorithms and additional features to enhance sound while reducing background noise. Sound will come through more naturally due to the device’s fine-tuning.
Standard devices are best for individuals who don’t require advanced technology in their hearing instruments. However, less active people who don’t often venture into noisy environments can still find the standard, less expensive device beneficial to their lifestyle.
Hearing Aids Online vs. Hearing Aids from a Physical Retailer
Hearing aids are available for purchase online at reduced prices, making them an attractive option for many people. However, these devices don’t offer any customization to ensure that the instrument meets your personal listening needs.
Getting hearing aids takes more than making a simple purchase. It requires exams, evaluations, device adjustments, and more.
Big-box retailers may offer store-brand hearing aids that may be better than the stock variety online, so you’ll likely pay a little more. However, you can only program them at that store, making it difficult, if not impossible, to have the devices adjusted at a clinic if you relocate or travel.
Because of the need for customization, it may be best to purchase hearing aids from a reputable hearing clinic or ENT (ear, nose, and throat) physician’s office.
Curious about what other products or services a Group Plan can help with? Check out this piece on laser eye surgery.
How to Pay for Hearing Aids
Unfortunately, not all provincial plans cover hearing aid costs in full. Most insurance providers also don’t provide coverage for instruments for hearing loss.
Insurance agencies consider hearing loss to be too great a risk to spread across a broad group of people. When agencies can spread an insurance risk across multiple groups, premium prices remain low. As long as people don’t file claims, they will receive a profit on coverage payments.
The prices of hearing aids are in the thousands. Since people with hearing challenges are more likely to file claims for hearing aids, they add to the insurer’s costs. As such, it’s often necessary to find alternative methods to purchase a hearing instrument.
Provincial Health Plans
Many territorial government health plans have provisions for hearing aid payment assistance. The benefits range from full coverage for hearing aids and replacements in Quebec for eligible residents to reimbursements up to 80% for children and seniors in Manitoba on a fixed income.
Not all provincial plans offer discounts, reimbursements for purchased hearing aids, or total coverage. Before you pay for your devices out-of-pocket, research your province’s stance on hearing aids. If it provides a measure of coverage, make sure you’re eligible for benefits before filing a claim.
Depending on where you purchase your hearing aids, the hearing clinic or online hearing aid retailer may offer financing options to pay for the instruments. You will pay for your hearing instrument out-of-pocket with financing, but you won’t have to pay the total price upfront.
Most financing options are affordable and include flexible plans that can last for 12 to 36 months. The retailer may include interest in their financing options, which will increase the total amount you will need to pay. However, it’s possible to participate in plans that start a 0% interest for further financial assistance.
Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)
Though most, if not all, private insurance plans don’t include hearing aid coverage due to its high cost, you can use supplemental insurance products with a Health Care Spending Account to pay for the device if you’re an independent contractor, self-employed, own a business, or your employer offers group benefits.
An HCSA offers flexibility contrary to the rigidness of a traditional health plan. Its purpose is to cover services, medical supplies, and treatments that conventional insurance plans don’t cover.
Funds from this account can be used to cover eligible medical expenses, including hearing aids, for out-of-pocket medical expenses. It also covers doctor office copayments, deductibles, prescription drugs, dental procedures, cosmetic surgeries, and more.
Funds used from an HCSA plan allow you to pay for expenses using pre-tax dollars, and they become a business tax deduction for you or your employer too. The tax benefits of HCSAs make them one of the best options to supplement health insurance plans.
Saving Tips for Purchasing a Hearing Aid
Since many Canadians have to pay for some out-of-pocket expense when purchasing hearing aids, it’s best to begin saving immediately. You should also exhaust your financial assistance options to reduce how much you pay, especially if you require an expensive model.
Here are some ways to help you reduce your hearing aid costs:
- Get a proper evaluation from a skilled audiologist to ensure that the device is necessary.
- Shop smart for hearing aids by only buying from trusted retailers, online merchants that sell to the consumer, and ENT doctor’s offices.
- Take advantage of Veteran’s Affairs Canada services, which offers audiology services and hearing instruments to qualified veterans.
- Seek charitable foundations that sponsor hearing-impaired people by providing aids to those with limited income.
Reduce Hearing Aid Pricing With Extended Healthcare Benefits
After adding on additional expenses like treatments from hearing care professionals, hearing aid testing, and device replacements, the price of hearing aids in Canada can easily exceed $4,000.
Though some provinces offer assistance by way of partial or complete government insurance coverage for hearing instruments, it’s not enough for many residents. With a Health Care Spending Account, you can supplement your insurance to pay for hearing devices for yourself or your dependents.
To learn more about HCSA options or other insurance products, contact our team at Group Enroll. We can provide you with quotes from Canada’s top insurance agencies to help you find the most affordable insurance for your group benefits plan.
Our helpful representatives will explain your insurance options and give you a breakdown of each plan’s benefits. Just fill out our quick quote form to get started. You can also email us at [email protected] with any questions.