Questions? Call or text. 
Start with this 3-minute survey.

The Best Affordable Hearing Aids: Expert Insights for Budget-Conscious Consumers

June 3, 2024
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

To get to this list we underwent the following research:

- 50+ Hours Research Conducted Each Month
- 3 Licensed Audiologists Consulted
- 50 Total Brands Reviewed
- 1,000+ Customer Reviews Considered

Best Affordable

Less Than $300 / pair

  • U.S.-based licensed hearing professionals available
  • All hearing aids come with free shipping and a 45-day trial period
  • 10+ years of customer care with 1M+ hearing aids shipped

9.4
GOOD
Best Selling OTC

Our Top-Rated OTC Hearing Aid

  • Starting at $799 per pair
  • Intuitive self-fitting app
  • Carried at Best Buy, CVS, Walmart and more
9.3
Excellent
OTC With Premium Sound

Premium-Grade Sound Quality

  • Starting at $999 per pair
  • Built by the top hearing aid manufacturer in collaboration with Sennheiser
  • Self-fit using a smartphone app
  • Best for background noise management
9.8
Excellent

As an audiologist with years of experience helping countless patients navigate the complexities of hearing loss, I've witnessed firsthand the profound impact that timely and appropriate treatment can have on an individual's quality of life. Whether you’re new to hearing aids or have been living with significant hearing impairment for some time, finding the right solution that fits your lifestyle and budget is paramount. 

It’s no secret that hearing aids can be expensive. The national average for a pair of devices, according to the White House, is around $4,400 - $5,500 / pair. The good news for hearing aid shoppers is that more affordable options exist.  

This guide is crafted to provide you with the insights and knowledge needed to make informed decisions, regardless of your budget. 

Prefer to watch?

See our video breakdown of price drivers for hearing aids below.

How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost? 

Today there are several different options to choose from: prescription, telehealth, and OTC options, with each ranging in price.

Prescription - Starting at $2,500 / pair 

Prescription hearing aids can range significantly in price, typically from $2,500 to $6,000 per pair. The cost varies based on the brand, technology level, and also geographic location. The prescription hearing care model involves working with a local provider in your area for in-person care. This model is ideal for individuals who prefer an in-person, hands-on approach during the hearing aid adjustment process, as well as ongoing follow-up appointments for adjustments and maintenance. This care model works for any degree of hearing loss, from mild to profound.

Telehealth - Starting at $1,000 / pair

Telehealth is another option for hearing healthcare for those comfortable with virtual appointments over the phone or on a computer. Cost with telehealth options range from $1,500 to $2,500 per pair. This is an attractive option for individuals who may not have access to a local hearing care provider or prefer the convenience of managing their own adjustments at home. Telehealth options are ideal for mild to moderate hearing loss and may require a hearing test before purchasing.

OTC (Over-the-Counter) - Starting at $100 / pair

OTC hearing aids are designed to be a more accessible and cost-effective option, particularly for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. Priced between $100 and $2,500 per pair, these devices are the most cost-effective option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who are comfortable with setting up their devices themselves. OTC hearing aids can be purchased without a prescription or a visit to an audiologist, making them a convenient choice for budget-conscious consumers who prefer a do-it-yourself approach.

Why Are Hearing Aids So Expensive?

There are several reasons why hearing aids tend to be pricey:

  1. Research and Development: Significant investment goes into developing cutting-edge technology that can fit into a tiny device.
  2. Professional Services: The cost often includes not only the device but also services provided by audiologists, such as hearing tests, fittings, and follow-up adjustments.
  3. Bundled Care Plans: Many hearing aids come with bundled care plans that include unlimited follow-up visits in addition to your devices. This means that the upfront cost you pay covers not only the hearing aids but also continuous professional support.
  4. Insurance Limitations: One critical factor contributing to the high out-of-pocket cost of hearing aids is that insurance often doesn't cover them. For instance, Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids, leaving many consumers bearing the full financial burden.

Now that we understand some of the factors that go into hearing aid cost, let's look at some ways to find cost-effective options.

Tips for Keeping Costs Manageable

Despite the expenses associated with hearing aids, there are several strategies you can employ to keep costs manageable.

Tips for Prescription Hearing Aids

Though prescription devices are more expensive, there are ways to keep costs lower for those with more than a moderate hearing loss or who prefer in-person care. Here are some ways to manage cost when it comes to prescription care:

  1. Start with a Basic or Budget Model: These devices can treat your hearing loss and often meet most of your needs if you don’t require advanced features. Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a budget option (example: Oticon Zircon or ReSound Key). Ask your audiologist about budget brands that might be available at their clinic. 
  2. Insurance Coverage: Check if your insurance plan covers hearing aids. Some plans offer partial or full coverage (read about BCBS, Aetna, United Healthcare, and Cigna).
  3. Unbundled plans: some clinics allow you to purchase your hearing aids and pay separately for follow-up appointments, which may mean potential savings compared to a standard 'bundled' plan that includes all follow-up appointments for three years (paid upfront).
  4. Financing Plans: Many providers offer financing options that allow you to pay for your hearing aids over time.

OTC Hearing Aids: Alternatives to Traditional Prescription Care

  1. Consider Over-the-Counter Options: New regulations have made OTC hearing aids a more accessible option, offering a less expensive alternative for mild to moderate hearing loss.
  2. Look for Discounts and Promotions: Many providers offer seasonal discounts or bundled deals that can save you money.
  3. Costco: Costco offers a range of hearing aids at competitive prices, often significantly lower than traditional retail options. Read more about Costco here.

Best Hearing Aid Under $100

When it comes to hearing aids under $100, we are hard-pressed to find a device that we can confidently recommend at this price point. Most devices within this range are typically personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) rather than true hearing aids, thus failing to offer the same level of sound quality and customization.

An example of this type of under-$100 device is JLab’s new OTC Hearing Aid which comes in an earbud format with four pre-set programs. While these options may provide some basic amplification, they often lack important features like background noise reduction and adjustment to fit a user's hearing loss, which are crucial for effective hearing loss treatment.

Best Hearing Aid Under $200

EarCentric is one popular device with positive reviews. While it can't compare to more sophisticated hearing technology, it is an option for mild to moderate hearing loss for the budget-constrained. EarCentric hearing aids provide basic amplification and come equipped with simple volume controls, making them a practical choice for those who need an affordable solution. Though these devices may lack advanced features like background noise reduction and customization, their ease of use and cost-effectiveness make them a viable option for individuals seeking an entry-level hearing aid.

Earcentric hearing aid
EarCentric
Top Amazon Device

EarCentric

EarCentric

$199
Listen to a demo
pause
Affordable
Behind the Ear
PSAP
Rechargeable

EarCentric is an ultra-budget-friendly hearing aid option available on Amazon. Retailing at just $199 per pair on Amazon, this device can work well for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who live quiet lifestyles. The device's rechargeable batteries take only 3 hours to charge fully and last 20+ hours on a single charge.

For those needing extra volume, EarCentric includes "a volume booster kit," including slim tubes and a different earpiece, to give you more volume. Add the comfortable dome tips that ensure a perfect fit for more extended wear. EarCentric comes with a one-year warranty, and a support team can provide help via phone or email for questions or troubleshooting.

Given its blend of affordability, long battery life, and dedicated support, EarCentric is a good choice for those seeking practical solutions for their hearing loss. Read more about EarCentric in this side-by-side comparison with a prescription hearing aid.

EarCentric offers one-size-fits-all programming that will only work well for certain hearing loss types. The devices have less advanced background noise management and do not stream Bluetooth. That said, they are less than $200 / pair and offer an accessible way to get started.

  • How it works: 
  • ✔️ Start by purchasing EarCentric on Amazon
  • ✔️ Unbox your product and charge the batteries
  • ✔️ EarCentric has remote customer service that can help with setup issues
  • Price: Starting at $199 for a pair
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, no Bluetooth streaming is available, no hearing customization (best for high-frequency hearing loss)
  • Our take: EarCentric devices offer less customization, background noise management, and features than prescription devices, but with 4,000+ reviews on Amazon and a very low price, the devices are worth a look
Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Less than $200 for a pair

Rechargeable

Cons

No Bluetooth streaming

Slightly larger size

Only one color available

Less advanced than prescription devices

Read Amazon Reviews
Learn More

Best Hearing Aids Under $500

Best under $300

Our favorite option under $300 is MDHearing, which offers a pair of hearing devices for $297. MDHearing's devices are designed to provide essential features for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, catering to users who need a balance between quality and affordability. These hearing aids include user-friendly volume controls and different program settings to adapt to various listening environments. Additionally, MDHearing's cost-effective price point is complemented with a strong commitment to customer support, including comprehensive user guides and access to professional consultations, ensuring that you get the most out of your purchase.

Best Under $500

Go Ultra hearing aids are our top option at under $500. If you’re looking for rechargeability and streaming to Android or iPhone, you’re in luck. Using one of four-preset programs, you can manually adjust these hearing aids via the buttons on the devices. For those with mild to moderate hearing loss who are comfortable with adjusting devices with buttons (and without a Smartphone app), we give this device a passing score. Go Ultra hearing aids are a popular choice for individuals looking for affordable yet high-quality hearing solutions. We especially like these devices for individuals who do not spend a lot of time in noisy environments. Read more in our detailed review here.

MDHearing Aid Image in Hand
MDHearing Volt Max
Most Affordable and Rechargeable

MDHearing Volt Max

MDHearing Volt Max

$297 - $699 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
OTC
Rechargeable

MDHearing is a Chicago-based brand that has sold over 500,000 pairs of affordable hearing aids since 2009. The brand's most advanced product (Volt Max) has directional microphones and respectable noise reduction. MDHearing's latest in-the-ear product is impressively small and nearly invisible in many ears. Importantly, MDHearing devices are significantly less expensive than traditional products. Prices range from $297 - $699, depending on the model and promotion period.

MDHearing offers four models of hearing aids ranging from their in-canal, NEO XS to their budget-friendly, Air model. MDHearing offers four pre-set listening configurations based on expected hearing losses. This approach makes MDHearing less advanced than traditional competitors, but many customers feel the price is worth the tradeoff. MDHearing sells exclusively online and does not require a trip to a local audiologist. The brand has recently invested in a remote care team that includes audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. Customers who need further tune-ups or care can set up a telecare appointment with a professional for free.

All four MDHearing products are rechargeable with 12-20 hours of battery life (depending on the model).

MDHearing comes with a one-year warranty and a 45-day trial period for each purchase of the MDHearing Volt. These hearing aids have manual controls, allowing for volume adjustment and program changes.

  • How it works: 
  • ✔️ Start by purchasing from MDHearing online
  • ✔️ Unbox your product and choose an environment setting
  • ✔️ MDHearing has a team of hearing professionals who can coach you through the self-fit process.
  • Price: Starting at $297 for a pair 
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries are available for all models, four pre-set listening modes are available for most models, and no Bluetooth streaming is available
  • Our take: MDHearing devices offer less customization, background noise management, and features than prescription devices, but at 10% of the price, they are a compelling option for some folks with more straightforward listening needs.
Pros

Less than $500 for a pair

Rechargeable

Multiple styles available

Cons

No Bluetooth streaming

Slightly larger size

Only one color available

Less advanced than prescription devices

Compare MDHearing Products
Learn More
Go Ultra Product Images
Go Ultra From hearX
Affordable Bluetooth

Go Ultra From hearX

Go Ultra From hearX

$499
Affordable
In the Ear
Rechargeable

hearX's Go Ultra hearing aids sit behind-the-ear and come with four pre-set programs, Bluetooth streaming capabilities, and rechargeable batteries. Significantly, Go Ultra will sell for half the price of hearX's other product line (Lexie's B2 Powered By Bose). There's a clear dropoff in sound quality between Lexie B2 and Go Ultra, but the tradeoff may be forgiven by some users looking for a simple device at a lower cost.

  • Overall notes: These devices do not manage background noise as well as premium options on the market. Still, Go Ultra gets some serious points for bringing the price point down to just $499 and packing in premium-style features like streaming and rechargeable batteries.
  • Price: $499 / pair
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style

Pros

One of the most affordable options on the market

Rechargeable batteries

Bluetooth streaming for Android and iPhone

Cons

Limited fine-tuning options

Less comfortable than premium RIC hearing aids

Larger than premium alternatives

Learn More About Go Ultra 👉
Get Started

Best Hearing Aids Under $1,000

We like Sennheiser All-Day Clear, Lexie B2+ by Bose and Sony CRE-C10. For those with mild to moderate hearing loss, these three products provide extremely high value.

The Sennheiser All-Day Clear is renowned for its superior sound quality and user-friendly design, making it an excellent choice for those needing an effective and reliable hearing aid. It features advanced noise reduction technology, long battery life, and comfortable wearability, ensuring users can enjoy clear hearing throughout the day.

Similarly, the Lexie B2+ by Bose offers outstanding performance with cutting-edge technology designed to deliver exceptional sound clarity. It includes features such as multiple listening environment settings, easy volume adjustments, and a sleek, discreet design. The B2+ is crafted with the user in mind, providing both comfort and high functionality, making it a top-tier option at this price.

Similarly, the Sony CRE-C10 offers an affordable in-ear option that is nearly invisible in most ears.

All three are purchasable through Soundly.com with complimentary setup services, free returns and 60-day price matching.

We've also included Jabra's budget pair ($1,195). Jabra is unique on this list because it comes with professional programming via telehealth (all of the other products listed below are self-fit).

Sennheiser OTC hearing aids
Sennheiser All Day Clear
Affordable and Rechargeable

Sennheiser All Day Clear

Sennheiser All Day Clear

$999 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
OTC
Bluetooth (Android and iPhone)

In August 2023, Sennheiser unveiled a new OTC hearing aid expected to compete with industry leaders like Bose, Sony, and Jabra. Sennheiser All-Day Clear is a full-featured hearing aid with Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calls (both Android and iPhone, an onboard hearing test, and easy to use app.

Our team tested All-Day Clear and compared it with Sonova's flagship brands - Phonak and Unitron. Our verdict? All-Day Clear has a few missing bells and whistles (more on that below), but the differences are not dealbreakers. The perfect candidate for All-Day Clear has mild-to-moderate hearing loss, is comfortable using a smartphone, and wants Sonova-made technology for a budget price.

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Sennheiser online or at a local retailer
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ If you need further adjustments, Sennheiser's technical team and give you some technical advice, but is not highly trained in hearing health matters.
  • Overall notes: Based on our reviews, this hearing aid is the most complete offering in the over-the-counter market so far.
  • Price: $999 for All-Day Clear with complimentary setup care through Soundly
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Streaming for iPhone and Android users, Excellent Programming app, Behind-The-Ear Style
Pros

Underlying technology and sound-processing from Sonova (top global manufacturer)

Self-fitting using the Sennheiser app

Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and Android

Cons

Customer support is limited to tech troubleshooting Vs. health advice

Only comes in one color scheme

More expensive than some other OTC competitors

Read our Full Sennheiser Review 👉
Learn More
Image of Bose rechargeable hearing aids
Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose
Affordable and Rechargeable

Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose

Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose

$999 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
OTC
Bluetooth (iPhone Only)

In July 2022 Bose formed a strategic partnership with Lexie (a well respected hearing healthcare company) to release Lexie B1 hearing aids. In October they released a second model with rechargeable batteries. Then in May 2023 they added Bluetooth streaming capabilities for iPhone users. In January 2024 Lexie released a new and improved charger. Constant improvement on an already great product - we love to see it.

Lexie B1 and Lexie B2+ hearing aids are self-fit using an innovative app that allows hearing aid wearers to fit, program, and control their hearing aids with clinically proven, audiologist-quality results. Purchase B1 hearing aids for $849 or rechargeable B2+ hearing aids for $999 (compare models here).

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Bose online or at a local retailer
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ If you need further adjustments, Lexie has a team of licensed professionals who can make remote updates or provide technical advice.
  • Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are comfortable with smartphone tech, and are on a budget, Bose is one of the most compelling products available.
  • Price: $849 for a pair of B1 hearing aids, $849 for a pair of B2 hearing aids or $999 for a pair of B2+ hearing aids
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Streaming for iPhone users, Programming app, Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “One of the simplest to use OTC hearing aids, at a very competitive price. A solid option for those who want to self-manage their mild to moderate hearing loss.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

Strong underlying technology

Self-fitting using the Lexie app

Affordable and rechargeable

Cons

Bluetooth for iPhone only  

Only comes in one color

Costs $150 more than disposable battery version

More Reviews + The Latest Pricing and Discounts 👉
See Price
Hand holding Sony invisible hearing aids
Sony CRE-C10 Hearing Aid
Best Value: In Ear

Sony CRE-C10 Hearing Aid

Sony CRE-C10 Hearing Aid

$999 / pair
Affordable
In the Ear
OTC

Sony teamed up with WS Audiology (the second-largest hearing company in the world) to co-create its products. Sony's CRE-C10 devices are nearly invisible and offer prescription-grade sound quality controlled through your smartphone. CRE-C10 does not offer Bluetooth streaming or rechargeable batteries.

CRE-C10 uses a size 10 disposable battery that offers over 70 hours of continuous wear. Size 10 batteries are widely available and commonly used in small devices. Sony's hearing aids were released in mid-October, so there are few reviews of the product, but it's safe to say this will be a leading consideration for those who want an in-the-ear style device.

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Sony hearing aids online (likely coming to brick-and-mortar stores soon)
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the Sony Hearing Control app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ Use the app to make real-time volume and sound quality adjustments.
    ✔️ Soundly customers get a complimentary guided set up session with an expert
  • Price: $999
  • Features: Self-fit using an app, nearly invisible in most ear canals, audiology-grade sound
Pros

Nearly invisible

High quality sound for a lower price

Self-fit at home

Cons

Not quite as small as OTC competitors like Eargo

Not rechargeable

Does not allow Bluetooth streaming

Purchase With Benefits on Soundly 👉
Get Started
Jabra Enhance Select Hearing Aids
Jabra Enhance Select
Best Overall Value

Jabra Enhance Select

Jabra Enhance Select

$1,195 - $1,995 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
Professional Fitting

Jabra Enhance Select hearing aids are made by the world's 4th largest hearing aid manufacturer (ReSound). Jabra Enhance (originally called Lively) made a name for itself by recreating the full-service audiology service online.

Instead of requiring you to come into their office, Jabra reduces the cost by programming remotely and shipping to your home.

All Jabra products come with a 100-day return policy and 3 years of unlimited remote care. You can find the same product for sale at a local clinic for around $4,500.

Get started by filling out Jabra's online survey via the right-hand corner of their website.

  • Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are on a budget, and want a hearing professional to program your hearing aids to match your hearing loss, this is one of the most compelling products on the market.
  • Price: $1,395 for a pair of battery-powered - $1,695 for a pair of rechargeable, $1,995 for enhanced sound quality
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “Their audiologists can personalize and program Jabra hearing aids in real-time; highlighting the benefits of telehealth and competent professionals.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

One of the most affordable and convenient ways to purchase online while maintaining professional care

Comes with a 100 day free-return period

Offers rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming

Cons

Remote care requires users to be somewhat tech savvy

Jabra only offers styles that sit behind the ear

Get Jabra Enhance Select prices and details 👉
See Price
No items found.
No items found.

Side-by-side comparison of affordable hearing aid options. 👇

Product Starting Price Style Bluetooth Batteries Customization Care Model
EarCentric $199 Behind The Ear N/A Rechargeable Presets OTC
MDHearing $297 In or Behind Ear N/A Rechargeable Presets OTC
GoUltra $499 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Presets OTC
Sennheiser All-Day Clear $999 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Smartphone App OTC
Lexie B2+ Powered by Bose $999 Behind The Ear iPhone Only Rechargeable Smartphone App OTC
Sony CRE-C10 $999 In The Ear N/A Disposable Smartphone App OTC
Jabra Enhance Select $1,195 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Smartphone App Telehealth
Oticon Zircon $2,798 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Smartphone App Prescription
Others we reviewed
Audien $99 In The Ear N/A Rechargeable Presets OTC
Linner $199 In or Behind Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Presets OTC
Nano $297 In or Behind Ear N/A Rechargeable Presets OTC
Lexie Lumen $799 Behind The Ear N/A Disposable Smartphone App OTC
Lucid Engage $799 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Smartphone App OTC
Audicus $1,398 Behind The Ear iPhone or Android Rechargeable Smartphone App Telehealth
Eargo 7 $2,950 In The Ear N/A Rechargeable Smartphone App OTC

What to Avoid

When shopping for hearing aids, be cautious of:

  1. Unverified Vendors: Stick to reputable brands and authorized dealers to ensure product quality and warranty protection. One tip here: products made from or in partnership with prescription manufacturers are a safe bet (Sony and Jabra are two examples).
  2. Ultra Low Prices: Extremely low prices might indicate low-quality products or poor-quality devices. Our research suggests that any device below $300 is likely to either be ineffective or an amplifier rather than a true hearing aid. Proceed with caution.
  3. Buying Hearing Aids on eBay: eBay offers a wide variety of hearing aids, some at substantially lower prices than traditional retail or clinical settings. However, these products may not always meet the quality standards, may be defective, and need reprogramming. Read more here

It's also important to remember to be cautious if you come across an ad or an Amazon device that sounds too good to be true. While online marketplaces can offer convenience and competitive pricing, they can also be a haven for substandard products and misleading advertisements. Always research the seller and read reviews carefully before making a purchase to ensure you're getting a reliable product.

The Key to Affordability: Fitting Your Needs (and Your Budget)

Ultimately, with the variety of options available today, there is technology that can effectively treat your hearing loss within your budget. Here are a few examples based on real patients I’ve interacted with over the years (anonymized for confidentiality):

Case Study 1: Milton's Journey with Prescription Care

Milton, a 75-year old retiree, knew it was time to do something about his hearing loss. Conversations with his wife had grown increasingly frustrating, unless he was able to see her face to read her lips. Milton came in to see me for a hearing test, which was covered through his Medicare insurance (devices were not covered under his plan).

He was open to technology options, but he emphasized that he needed something that would work with his fixed income. With a moderate to severe hearing loss, Milton needed prescription technology to treat his hearing loss. However, Milton spent most of his time in quiet, with some exceptions, like going to church or out to the grocery store. We talked about a budget hearing aid from a high-quality hearing aid manufacturer, and also the difference between a 'bundled' plan with all follow-up visits and care for three years versus an 'unbundled' plan with fewer upfront costs and pay-as-you-go follow-up visits.

Milton opted for the budget device with an unbundled plan. His out of pocket costs were around $2,500 for a pair. He paid $65 per appointment after the initial fitting. 

After his initial hearing aid fitting and first follow-up visit, Milton planned to return for follow-ups at regular intervals, or as needed. However, I let Milton know that he was always welcome to stop by the front office or call if he needed support from an assistant at no additional cost. Milton was very happy with his hearing aids, and found that conversation involved much less frustration.

Case Study 2: Richard's Family Harmony with OTC Hearing Aids

Richard, a 45-year-old father of three, loved spending his evenings watching TV with his family. However, as his hearing started to decline, he found himself turning up the volume to levels that were uncomfortable for his wife and children. Richard knew it was time to seek a solution that would allow everyone to enjoy TV time without any strain.

After discussing his dilemma with a friend, Richard learned about over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Intrigued by the affordability and ease of access, he decided to give them a try. Richard chose a pair of Lexie Powered by Bose OTC hearing aids, which he could easily purchase from his local pharmacy for around $999/pair.

The devices came with a detailed user manual, enabling Richard to adjust and set them up on his own. The difference was noticeable—he could now watch his favorite shows at a reasonable volume, much to his family's relief. But the benefits didn't stop there. Richard noticed that everyday conversations with his family had become clearer and less effortful.

Dinner table discussions, bedtime storytelling, and even playful banter now flowed more naturally. Richard's proactive step not only improved his own hearing experience but also brought a renewed sense of harmony to his household. The OTC hearing aids proved to be a convenient and effective solution, enhancing his quality of life while still leaving enough room in the budget to care for his family.

Consider Options for Free or Low-Cost Hearing Aids

Need more options? There are several resources available for those who need financial assistance:

  1. Non-Profit Organizations: Groups like the Hearing Loss Association of America or Lions Club International offer programs to help those in need.
  2. Government Programs: Medicaid and other state programs may provide coverage for hearing aids.
  3. Veteran Benefits: Veterans may qualify for hearing aids through the VA.
  4. Clinical Trials: Participating in clinical trials can sometimes provide access to free hearing aids.

Read more about programs that can assist those in need here.

Additional Resources That Can Help

Effective communication is critical, especially for those with hearing loss. One valuable resource to consider are caption phones, such as CaptionCall. These specialized phones utilize captioning technology to display written text of your phone conversations in real-time. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle to understand spoken words over the phone, ensuring they do not miss out on important information. This captioning service is available at no-cost to those with hearing loss who require captions for phone conversation.

Talk to Text Apps: Making Conversation Easier

Talk to text apps are another option that can help make conversation easier for those with hearing loss. These applications convert spoken words into written text in real-time, allowing users to read conversations as they happen. Popular options include Google Live Transcribe, Otter.ai, and Ava. Google Live Transcribe is a particularly popular option due to its reliability and compatibility with a wide range of devices. Otter.ai offers advanced features such as speaker identification and searchable transcripts, making it a powerful tool for both casual and professional use. Ava provides precise transcriptions with the added benefit of being able to translate multiple languages, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility. 

Utilizing talk to text apps can significantly enhance communication, reduce misunderstandings, and enable users to engage more fully in conversations. I’ve regularly heard about how patients appreciate using a talk-to-text app at doctor’s appointments or other situations where clear understanding is crucial. While one of these apps does not replace a hearing aid, it can be a good, cost-effective option to aid in understanding in certain situations.

Final Thoughts

In today's world, the wealth of options available for hearing aids and assistive technology ensures that there are viable solutions for every budget. Whether through affordable over-the-counter devices, financial assistance from non-profit organizations, or advanced apps that enhance communication, individuals with hearing loss can find technology to suit their needs and improve their quality of life. From enhancing personal interactions to boosting professional performance, these tools offer unprecedented accessibility and convenience. Thanks to these advancements, no one needs to feel left out or disconnected, regardless of their financial situation. With determination and the right resources, everyone can achieve better hearing health and enjoy the full richness of life's sounds.

And if you're in need of assistance, you can always reach out to us at Soundly to get advice on your unique situation.

Frequently asked questions

Does insurance cover hearing aids?
+

Some insurance policies cover hearing tests, but the majority of policies do not cover hearing aid devices. It's a good idea to call your insurance company to double-check on this. Read our full guide on the topic here.

Does Medicare pay for hearing aids?
+

Original Medicare does not cover hearing aid costs. It does cover hearing tests in many cases. One option is to get a covered hearing test locally and use it to find a good option online for less. Some Medicare Advantage plans do cover hearing aids. Read our full guide on Medicare and hearing aids.

How to access veteran benefits for hearing aids?
+

If you have served in the U.S. military, there is a good chance the VA could cover your hearing aids and hearing care.

Process Overview:

  1. Apply for VA benefits.
  2. Schedule an appointment.
  3. Meet with a VA audiologist.
  4. Schedule an appointment to be fit with hearing aids.

Here's a full breakdown of the VA hearing aid application process.

Are hearing aids worth the money?
+

Absolutely. Hearing aids are transformational in many social settings, and research indicates they improve connection, overall health, and earning potential. Around 80% of hearing aid wearers across budget levels are happy they made the purchase.

Are hearing aids tax deductible?
+

The short answer is, yes, hearing aids qualify for a tax deduction. However, the answer in your specific situation will depend on a few factors:

  • Did your out-of-pocket medical care expense exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income?
  • Did you pay for your hearing aids through a health savings account (HSA)?
  • Do you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the disability tax credit?

Read our full guide to taxes and hearing aids.

Are cheap hearing aids actually good?
+

We've tested dozens of hearing aids, and typically find that the break-point for quality is around $700 / pair. Most products under that price are not meaningfully helpful or have major issues with background noise. If you have a common hearing loss in the mild-moderate range, an OTC product from Bose or Sony could be a great option (many people swear by these brands). If you want a more affordable device with prescription programming, we suggest Jabra Enhance Select

These hearing aids aren't perfect, but they give you maybe 80% of the benefit for 25%-50% of the cost.  

Where can I buy the most affordable hearing aids?
+

The best place to buy most OTC products is directly through the brand's website, and you can compare products and find links to OTC brands throughout this site. Some OTC devices are available at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, and Best Buy. Here's our LIVE tracker of OTC brands.

The most affordable way to purchase prescription devices is through a buying group like ZipHearing or Yes Hearing. Use our shopping tool here to find pricing on top devices. 

If you are open to Telehealth care, the most affordable place to purchase is Jabra Enhance Select. They sell a prescription-grade product for less than half the price of local clinics. 

Will hearing aid prices go down?
+

The stated goal of new OTC hearing aid legislation was to bring down hearing aid prices. In reality, it appears that OTC devices will create a new robust (and quality) budget option, but traditional prescription models will stay at roughly the same prices due to their hands-on service. 

Conventional wisdom is that prices for both OTC and prescription devices will remain roughly the same for the next few years.

Can seniors on a fixed income get free hearing aids?
+

Getting hearing aids on a fixed income can be challenging. While there aren't any government programs that make hearing aids free for seniors (hopefully someday!) There are many local organizations around the United States that can provide financial support for hearing aids. 

These range from hearing providers to local Lions Clubs and nonprofits. The Hearing Aid Project has an excellent resource for finding these programs here. The Hearing Aid Project also accepts hearing aid donations.

The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of published resources along with a PDF guide here.

What should I do if I can't afford hearing aids?
+

Don't give up too fast. You've got options. If OTC hearing aids aren't within your budget or don't meet your needs, you might be a candidate for non-profit financial assistance. 

The Hearing Aid Project has an excellent resource for finding these programs here. The Hearing Aid Project also accepts hearing aid donations.

The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of published resources along with a PDF guide here.

What is the difference between entry-level and premium technology levels?
+

This is an important (and slightly complex) topic. Most prescription hearing aids come in a few different technology levels. The "economy option" typically has fewer bells and whistles, and the premium option has more. In general, "economy options" are still very credible and achieve significant benefits. Read our full guide to technology levels here.

Is it more affordable to get rechargeable or non-rechargeable hearing aids?
+

Rechargeable hearing aids usually cost anywhere from $200-$400 more per pair. Disposable batteries typically cost $5-$7 per month. Over a three-year lifespan, rechargeable batteries pretty much pay for themselves. Read our full guide on the topic here.

What are the best affordable hearing aids with Bluetooth?
+

This depends a bit on your budget.

Jabra Enhance Select is our favorite at the $1k-$2K price range. 

Lucid Engage is our top choice for under $1K. 

You might also want to try AirPods pro (a guide to turning your AirPods into hearing aids here)

What are the best affordable and invisible hearing aids?
+

Eargo and Sony have the leading in-the-ear (and affordable) devices. Both devices are self-fit using an app and come from credible companies. 

Does Medicare pay for captioned phones?
+

Call captioning is federally funded and does not require an individual to have Medicare coverage.

Ask Soundly

This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
  • This is some text inside of a div block.
  • This is some text inside of a div block.
  1. This is some text inside of a div block.
  2. This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is an AI-powered chat experience that synthesizes product manuals, white papers, and our content to give you instant answers. This feature is experimental. Verify all results and speak to your healthcare professional before making final decisions. Learn more in our updated Privacy Policy.