Hearing loss is a complex condition – and understanding the cost and process involved in maintaining hearing health can be as well. Understanding this process means you can be an informed consumer, with the knowledge to ask the right questions of the right people.
Australia’s Commonwealth Hearing Services Program provides world-class subsidised audiology services to young people and to eligible adults on an age, disability or veteran’s pension. By world standards, hearing loss in Australia receives very good public funding, due in part to the priority the government has given to the issue. The following is an explanation of some of the costs and processes involved in maintaining hearing health.
Medicare essentially doesn’t cover hearing aids, tests or audiology services, as it is considered an outpatient service and not a medical or surgical procedure. However, if your doctor feels there is a problem with your hearing and refers you to an ear, nose and throat specialist, then Medicare may cover some of the costs, of some of the tests.
Private health insurance
Private health insurers are not legislated to cover outpatient services, so they are not obligated to provide rebates for hearing tests. If you have premium cover with extras, this might cover some of the cost of hearing aids. It would be wise to check your insurance policy and shop around if it’s not satisfactory.
Try before you buy
Did you know you can ‘try before you buy’ a hearing aid? Ask about a trial period and the associated terms and conditions. You don’t have to feel locked in to a model with which you’re not happy.
What are you getting for your money?
A single hearing aid can range from $2000 to $5000, depending on style, quality and the services included in the ‘bundle’. A bundle refers to the full suite of essential services which you will need for the three to five year life of the hearing aid. This includes maintenance, repairs and an extended warranty. A hearing aid alone will be less than optimal without these services.
Ask for a breakdown of costs and if needed, an explanation of each service.
The audiologists may be hearing specialists, but they can’t hear your thoughts. Be upfront about what you can afford and they will work with you to find a hearing solution which suits your budget and your needs.
When you see your hearing specialist, it may serve you well to have an extra set of ears to take in all the details. That way you can ask the right questions and make the best decision to suit your needs, your lifestyle and your budget.
Buying a hearing aid from a hearing clinic is an investment in a relationship with a qualified professional who is dedicated to helping you improve your communication and your quality of life.
If you are experiencing hearing problems, contact your local hearing specialist to guide you through your options.