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Better Hearing Institute Publishes First Comprehensive Guide to Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids
Date:1/11/2010

, insurance plans, corporate benefits, and government programs that help people access the hearing healthcare they need.

"Medicare, state insurance programs or private insurers cover canes and crutches, and often help people afford glasses, braces on their teeth, cosmetic surgery, Viagra for better sex lives, and other solutions to improve quality of life," says Kochkin. "But hearing loss is like a neglected orphan in this healthcare system."

The average cost for a hearing aid in 2008 was $1,675, including fitting, evaluation, and post-fitting treatment. Nearly eighty percent of people with hearing loss require two devices, increasing average out-of-pocket expenses to $3,350.

According to BHI research, 33 percent of people with hearing loss have annual incomes of less than $30,000. In addition, household incomes of people with untreated hearing loss are usually much lower than those of their non-hearing-impaired counterparts.

When left untreated, hearing loss reduces earning power, disrupts relationships, and causes a wide array of psychological problems, Kochkin points out. Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and affects more than 34 million Americans. Six out of ten Americans with hearing loss are below retirement age. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.

Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discr
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