This is a very common question in any hearing practice. It’s understandable. I would want to know why such a small device costs thousands of dollars out of my own pocket. If you have ever sought to purchase hearing aids, you’ve probably noticed that there are two main types of places to go. One is an ear clinic where health professionals see patients with a variety of ear problems such as infections, balance disorders, hearing impairments requiring hearing aids, and disorders requiring surgeries just to name a few. The other option is a dedicated hearing aid center. Either option can be good depending on the needs of the patient.
Most dedicated hearing aid offices are much smaller and more modest than medical facilities so a consumer can know right away that hearing aid professionals do not make large annual profits. So where does the money go?
Like with any other business there are all of the same overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, staff and what have you, but the one key difference is research and development. Research often accounts for as much as 30% of the total cost of the hearing devices according to Patricia Kricos, an audiology professor at theUniversityofFloridaand president of theAmericanAcademyof Audiology. Between electrical engineers, audiologists, computer programmers and musicologists, an immense amount of technical knowledge is required to produce these miniature devices.
Many of our clients also compare hearing aids to their glasses and wonder why there is such a cost difference. Whereas eyeglasses are typically accounting for misshapen eyes, hearing aids are usually being fit to compensate for damaged nerves which cause distortion in hearing, diminished hearing, hearing sensitivity, as well as a variety of other problems. A more direct comparison in the eye industry is if there was a vision prosthetic that compensated for something like retinal detachment.