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Why Do Hearing Aids Cost So Much?

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

  • Research and development
  • Marketing efforts
  • Employee salaries/practice overhead costs
  • Hearing aid style
  • Continuing education for hearing healthcare professionals
  • Quality hearing devices that are custom made for each individual person

There have been several articles I have seen where people compare the cost of hearing aids to other electronic devices like smartphones or computers and wonder why they cost so much more than these other types of electronics.  As mentioned above a quality hearing device is customized to each person’s hearing needs.  No one person hears sound the same.  If smartphones and computers had to be customized to each person, they would certainly cost more.

Much like other electronic devices, hearing technology has significantly advanced over the past few years; current hearing models are packed with the same technologies that make our cell phones, computers, and flat-screen TVs so efficient and sleek.  Needless to say, these aren’t your grandmother’s hearing aids! Digital technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade…

In fact, every couple of years the top few hearing technology manufacturers such as Oticon, Starkey, Phonak, and Siemens invest millions of dollars to make improvements in hearing aid technology.  This research and development effort has improved on things such as:

  • Listening in background noise
  • Binaural coordination
  • Feedback control
  • Noise management
  • Bluetooth connectivity

When hearing device companies release new products to the public they must recoup research costs in order to secure funding for future advancements in technology. This is the same with any facet of electronics innovations. The difference with hearing aid technology is that fewer people are purchasing hearing aids in comparison to other types of electronics.

Let’s take a look at the smartphone market in the United States:  A recent study showed that 114 million Americans were using smartphones in July 2012.   The total population of the U.S. is about 313 million.

Now let’s take a look at how many people have and are using hearing technology:  About 17 percent of the adults in the Unites States (about 53.2 million) report some degree of hearing loss.  Only 1 in 5 of those people who could benefit from hearing devices actually has them (about 10.6 million).  That is quite a small market compared to the smartphone market.

Yes, hearing aids can be expensive, but when fit properly and customized to an individual’s hearing needs, they are life changing.  

If you have any questions about the cost of hearing technology or hearing devices in general please let us know.  Thank You!!!