Affordable hearing aids and full insurance coverage for devices and peripheral hardware and maintenance costs

This is the 6th part of my wishlist to audiologists and accousticians, hearing aid manufacturers, and the health care system. If you like to add something, share your experiences, or provide more information, I encourage you to submit a comment.

Insurance companies barely cover the costs of hearing aids [1]. The only devices that are covered are the cheapest and oldest models, which lack a lot of features which are necessary for a person who has an active social and work life. Insurance companies provide their share to new hearing aids at most every five years. That means I basically need to save money every month since I got my last hearing aids in order to buy the new hearing aids. I could decide to not buy new hearing aids that soon and keep the old ones for 10 years. But for a person with an active life, this is not an option. If you consider the progress that the consumer electronics industry makes in 5 years, you can easily transfer that to the hearing aid industry imagine how many chances you miss to get a better signal processing and thus a better social life.

Peripheral hardware such as adapters for phones are not covered at all by the insurances. Insurance companies do not consider it a necessity to be able to talk on the phone. As much as I hate talking on the phone anyway, unfortunately in a business environment it is still communication medium number one.

Also, in order to maintain the functioning of hearing aids, one has to clean and try them frequently and provide them with new batteries every couple of days. Insurances do not cover any of the costs there.

[1] This might only apply to Germany, I cannot give an exhausting description for other markets. Feel free to add comments about that.

See also the next point on my wishlist: Open hardware and software standards. Or the previous one: Longer battery life and non-proprietary batteries in peripheral hardware.

One thought on “Affordable hearing aids and full insurance coverage for devices and peripheral hardware and maintenance costs

  1. In Switzerland, disability insurance used to cover upto roughly 3000 CHF of the cost of hearing aids. They have now slashed this by half. Those I’m trying now are 4000 (add another 700 for the MDEX needed to route calls and other computer sounds to my HA). I’m probably going to put 1-2K out of my pocket for my hearing aids, which I’m told are expected to last 5-6 years. Doable, but still pretty expensive. And clearly, better off in Switzerland than in Germany.

    With my hearing loss, I am eligible for hearing aids covered by the disability insurance (AI) in Switzerland. Audiogram: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/6998002902/

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