How to Access Affordable Hearing Aids

By
Dr. Amy Sanders, MD, FAAN
Neurologist Specializing in Dementia
3 min

Mounting evidence suggests an important link between untreated hearing loss and dementia.

  • A population study conducted over 25 years with more than 3700 people revealed that dementia occurs more frequently in people who self-report hearing problems, except in people who use hearing aids.1
  • Another study confirmed this finding, reporting that hearing loss and worse cognition were associated only in people who did not use hearing aids.2

Still, Medicare and most insurance companies do not cover hearing aids. The resources listed below can be a great place to start when researching affordable hearing aids and audiology care.

You can buy hearing aids “over the counter” now. In October 2022, the FDA approved the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for adults who have self-perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. One goal of OTC hearing aids is to reduce the time it takes people with hearing loss to access hearing aids. Technology differences and being able to buy the device without professional services will also make hearing aids more affordable.3

Many foundations, clubs, and associations are willing to help those who are hearing impaired but can't afford hearing aids.

Many organizations can help you or your loved one find free or low-cost hearing aid programs.

Ask Your Audiologist

The best place to start looking for assistance is your audiologist. Ask if they know of any local nonprofit organizations that help older adults with hearing loss obtain hearing aids for low or no charge. Local nonprofits sometimes offer grants based on individual needs—even when they don't offer a specific hearing aid program.

Hearing Loss Association of America

The Hearing Loss Association of America provides information about financial aid assistance programs available to eligible individuals, including older adults. The association provides up-to-date information about financial aid options, including those for veterans and others through Medicaid.

Lions Clubs International

Many local Lions Clubs participate in the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (AHAP). You can get a Lions Club hearing aid application through your local Lions Club, which determines eligibility (based on income) and arranges testing by a hearing care professional. You can contact Lions AHAP at (630)-571-5466.

Miracle-Ear Foundation

The Miracle-Ear Foundation program helps give the gift of sound to eligible people with hearing loss. To qualify for the program, you must meet all eligibility requirements. After your application has been carefully reviewed for income, assets, and hearing loss, you may be eligible for their services. You can complete the application and submit it to your local Miracle-Ear store.

Trial Programs

Contact hearing aid manufacturers and ask if there is a trial program in which you can participate. They often seek individuals to help test their new hearing aid models while they are in development. Healthy Hearing lists major hearing aid manufacturers that can be used to make that initial contact.

Hearing Aid Resources

You can also check into additional resources at the Hearing Aid Project. If you are not eligible for any of those programs, you may be able to qualify for hearing aid assistance through the National Hearing Aid Project.

Interested in learning what else you can do for your cognitive wellness?

Sunday Health’s clinical care team provides a convenient, clinically proven checkup, which is crucial for early detection, personalized care, and proactive management of cognitive well-being.

To learn more, click here to schedule an introductory call with our care navigator or call (571) 517-1564.

Do you have another question that the Sunday Health brain health experts can answer? We invite you to send your questions to hello@sundayhealth.com.

Sources:

1. Amieva H, Ouvrard C, Meillon C, Rullier L, Dartigues JF. Death, Depression, Disability, and Dementia Associated With Self-reported Hearing Problems: A 25-Year Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Sep 11;73(10):1383-1389.

2. Ray J, Popli G, Fell G. Association of Cognition and Age-Related Hearing Impairment in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Oct 1;144(10):876-882.

3. https://www.audiology.org/consumers-and-patients/managing-hearing-loss/consumers-and-otc-hearing-aids/

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