Hearing loss - especially sensorineural hearing loss (commonly called nerve deafness) - is a complex condition. Yet most people assume that the purchase of hearing aids will provide an instant fix, just like buying a pair of glasses over the counter.The reality is hearing aids are just a part of the cost and process of achieving better hearing.

Hearing aids should not be viewed as off-the-shelf products because various steps including aural rehabilitation are required to achieve better hearing

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Blog

1 Jul 2015

Lots of people ask "Why are hearing aids so expensive?"

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Hearing loss - especially sensorineural hearing loss (commonly called nerve deafness) - is a complex medical condition. Yet most people assume that the purchase of hearing aids will provide an instant fix, just like buying a pair of glasses over the counter. The reality is hearing aids are just a part of the cost and process of achieving better hearing.

Aural Rehabilitation

Hearing aids alone cannot fix a hearing problem. Hearing, listening and comprehending all rely on your ears, your hearing nerves and your brain. With the majority of hearing losses the sensory part of the ear is damaged and this in turn affects the nerve to the brain and therefore the brain's ability to comprehend sounds.  Your hearing aids are only as good as the effort you invest in the therapy to retrain your brain to make sense of the different information that reaches it. This therapy is called aural rehabilitation and your audiologist will guide you during this process.

Consequently, hearing aids should not be viewed as off-the-shelf products because various steps including aural rehabilitation are required to achieve better hearing. The expertise of your audiologist can influence the quality of your hearing experience and the outcomes you achieve with hearing aids. Read more on the process of hearing aid fitting at Melbourne Audiology Centre.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are medical devices that need to be tiny, work in a hostile environment such as a waxy and moist ear canal and compensate for a sensory loss. To achieve this, vast amounts of money are spent annually on research and development to keep improving the technology in the hearing aids.  This in addition to manufacturing, global distribution, support and warranty costs drive up the price of hearing aids.

Furthermore, the comparative low number of users of hearing aids increases the price per hearing aid. Hearing loss affects approximately 15% of the population and of these roughly 25% purchase hearing aids. In comparison, mobile phones can be used by the majority of the population. In Australia there are 1.3 active mobile phones per person, meaning a significant number of people have 2 active mobile phones. This high volume of mobile phone users spreads the cost making each phone cheaper.

Putting all this into perspective, an off - the - shelf telecommunication product like the Apple® iPhone6 retails at $899 - $1299 (http://www.apple.com/au/), while hearing aids which are medical devices and include personalisation, aural rehabilitation and other professsional services start at approximately $1900 to $5000+ per aid (discounts apply when you buy a pair).

Funding

In Australia, the Government's Office of Hearing Services (OHS) program provides subsidised audiology services to Pensioners, Veterans and other eligible clients through a voucher system. However about 1.5million people with hearing loss in Australia are not eligible for the OHS services. People who have private health insurance with ‘Extras’ cover may be eligible for some benefits and hearing aids can also be claimed as a medical expense tax offset.  

Melbourne Audiology Centre offers payment plans on hearing aids to our clients to assist them with their hearing aid purchases.

Prices of hearing aids

The price you pay for hearing aids at Melbourne Audiology Centre is a ‘bundled’ price that includes the hearing aids, customisation of the part that goes in your ears, the audiological services required to fit and adjust the aids and the therapy to retrain your brain to make sense of the new sounds you will be hearing.

If you are considering purchasing hearing aids for the first time or upgrading your current aids we recommend that you book a “Hearing aid consultation” at Melbourne Audiology Centre. This consultation is 1 hour and includes a hearing assessment, discussion of the best hearing aids to meet your needs and a demonstration of the aids. Your audiologists may also offer you a free “take home trial of hearing aids”.

Hearing Aid Consultation Appointment Special Pirce is $120 (normally $175).

NB: If you are eligible for OHS services this consultation is free of charge – please contact us to find out about your eligibility.