In this article on hearing loss and hearing aids, Consumer Reports cites papers from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the reasons why hearing aids are not used by many people who self-report hearing loss. I’ll begin by addressing cost. According to NAS and PCAST, hearing aids cost an average of $4,700 a pair, and can be almost twice that price.
I’d like to state for the record, that it is possible to keep an audiology practice in business without charging $7,000 or $8,000 for two hearing aids at the high end. I do it every day, by offering the best hearing technology available and the best fitting processes in Hampton Roads, and every pair is under $4,300.
The article offers one comparison that does not seem fair, but that may stem from a lack of understanding. Consumer Reports quotes the PCAST report as saying that, while the retail cost of hearing aids ranges from $3,300 – $8,000 a pair, the cost of the components that go into a hearing aid is $100.00. This is probably true for the basic hearing aid that I buy for about $200.00 and sell for a small markup plus fees for professional services. But I seriously doubt that it is true for the latest, top-of-the line technology. The top hearing aid manufacturers spend millions of dollars on research and development and need to amortize that cost over the life span of of the models they’ve developed from that research. They also need to make enough profit to stay in business and do further research.
I’ll go further into the cost factor in the next post.