Hearing aid warranties are an important consideration for individuals experiencing hearing challenges. Hearing refers to the ability to perceive auditory signals through the ears. The outer, middle, and inner ear work together, along with the auditory cortex in the brain, to process sound within the environment. However, various factors can jeopardize the delicate balance of this system, leading to hearing issues.

These factors include congenital causes (such as genetics and prenatal factors), age-related hearing loss (known as Presbycusis), and acquired factors (such as accidents, traumas, and illnesses). One specific condition is adventitious hearing loss, which occurs as a result of exposure to loud sounds, including music, factories, gunshots, drills, and more. Ensuring appropriate hearing aid warranties can provide peace of mind and support individuals in managing their hearing needs effectively.

According to more recent estimates, age-related hearing loss is most common and accounts for every 1 in 3 individuals around 65-74 and nearly every second beyond 75 years. These and other age groups have to rely on technology to ensure communication, safety, and quality of life. Literature is reflective of incidence that claims a mere 20-25 percent of the population having an age-related hearing loss have hearing aids. An obvious link to this phenomenon is the high-end prices and awareness issues in masses that prohibit their access to this key technology device. In order to ensure confident access to the quality offered through these technologies, hearing aid manufacturers dwell upon warranties and support mechanisms for the hearing challenged.

The article intends to address frequently asked questions at audiology clinics and hearing forums about the “worthiness” of such warranties and will reflect upon the key issues in the minds of buyers. Further, the factors contributing to such significant technologies’ higher cost will be discussed. Later, however, the price range of significant brands and their warranties will be provided. The article ends up with suggestions for hearing aid users that can render them the status of an informed buyer.

What Is A Hearing Aid?

Simply stated, an amplification device or a hearing aid is electronic equipment having different components. The key includes a microphone, processor, an amplifier, and a speaker. This little piece of equipment is uniquely designed to be placed in different places of the ear while ensuring quality, size, and cosmetology factors.

With more advanced battery options, the battery compartment is compatible with the size and design of the respective aid. Hearing aid manufacturers are pacing up with technology-driven demands like noise clipping, user-friendliness, low maintenance, post-dispensing support, and artificial intelligence that can suit the lifestyle of users. 

Besides the mentioned factors above, we need to understand that although a hearing aid is made on a commercial basis, the programming, mold-making, and individual needs are met through personalized support that may incur additional costs. Likewise, the functionalities and modalities involved need active support that requires professional involvement.

On average, a hearing aid may cost around $5,000-7,000 US Dollars and serves for around six years. During the period, respective components experience wear and tear, damage, etc., and may need fixing or complete replacements. All like factors end upon an increased cost of hearing aids since the manufacturers extend warranties and support to the buyers, directly or through a third party’s involvement. 

What Consumers Should Know About Hearing Aid Warranties

Buying a hearing aid is not a common experience for the majority. It is worthwhile to have information before you commit yourself to a brand. Many vocabulary items revolve around “warranty,” e.g., manufacturer’s warranty, extended warranties, insurance plans, etc.

Likewise, certain warranty exclusions are written in fine print and mention relating to voiding a claim altogether. This article is designed to enable you to look into those finer details and benefit maximum from your investment by making a better deal. 

Why Should I Pay for Hearing Aid Warranty?

The answer is simple! You pay so you may claim it later, just in case…Age-related hearing loss, a common concern among individuals, is often accompanied by multiple comorbid conditions that range from mild cognitive impairment to more severe cognitive conditions, physical limitations, and forgetfulness, among others. In such circumstances, managing the equipment to maximize its use becomes increasingly challenging over time. Technological hiccups, accidental loss, and maintenance issues are among the top concerns when seeking later support from the manufacturers.

While it is true that your current hearing aid may function without a problem for several years, it is important to consider the potential benefits of upgrading to an advanced, technologically sound model. These upgraded models offer enhanced features, improved performance, and a better fit for your specific needs. In the following section, let’s delve into the details of different warranties offered in the market, providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision about your future hearing aid purchase.

Manufacturer Warranty

In order to hold a good market share in the market, manufacturers offer multiple warranties that directly relate to the aid itself. A warranty is a legal agreement between the buyer and the seller to ensure a commitment from both parties. Generally, the mechanical breakdown or component fault falls under this commitment.

More professional brands will offer thirty-day money-back guarantees with no liability whatsoever; none of the warranties, however, cover the running cost on account of batteries. The good news is that if you have opted for an appropriate warranty and your hearing aids are damaged beyond repair, the warranty may cover your one-time replacement coverage.

Such warranties take the form of basic, extended, and lifetime warranty

  • A basic warranty may cover parts or repairs for twelve to twenty-four months after the purchase. During the stated period, if any discrepancies arise in the hearing aid functioning that may need corrections or an entire replacement, it will be subject to the written commitment made by the manufacturer. However, this warranty does not commit for losses incurred due to negligence or abuse of a hearing aid.
  • An extended warranty is liable to cover the basic period but for 24 months or two years. 
  • The final lifetime warranty ensures committed support five years after the purchase date. This type of assurance is popular among audiences who might not like to engage in repair costs for a longer piece of mind.
  • A third party is any organization or insurance company committing itself to take care of any damages or losses your hearing aid may incur during use. Third-party warranty only commits to a hearing aid not older than five years. As a third party, the company takes the liability to get the respective problems of your aids sorted through a credible resource, usually the manufacturer.

Prices and Warranties By Key Manufacturers:

In the context of prices and hearing aid warranties, a comparison has been established in the following table. The objective is to help decide while investing in a hearing aid. An informed status will help you decide for an optimal choice. Again, the list is exhaustive; however the more common makes and models are discussed here. It is yet again recommended that a consultation with the audiologist is ascertained before committing to any specific choice.

As you scroll down the table look for the brand, price, style, battery type, connectivity, AI provisions, finance and brand warranties. The table will help you compare different brands to the basic specification that may suit your buying capacity, requirement and interest.

BrandJabra EnhanceAudicusMDHearingEargoLexiePhonak Audéo Lumity
Price per pair$1,195–$1,995$1,398–$2,998$299–$699$1,650–$2,950$799–$999$2,600–$6,500
StyleReceiver-in-canalReceiver-in-canal, completely-in-canalBehind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, completely-in-canalCompletely-in-canalBehind-the-ear, receiver-in-canalReceiver-in-canal
BatteryRechargeable and disposable optionsRechargeable and disposable optionsRechargeableRechargeableRechargeable and disposable optionsRechargeable
Blue toothYesYes (except the Mini)Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)Yes
ProvisionsPhone app or remote supportPhone app, remote support, remote control, and mail-in optionsPhone app or remote supportPhone app or remote supportPhone app or remote supportPhone app, remote, and in-person
Finance1–3 years2 years1–2 years1–2 years1 yearDepends on retailer
warrantyYesYesYesYesNoDepends on retailer
BrandStarkey Evolve AIPhonak Naída Paradise P-UPOticon OwnSignia Silk XWidex MomentReSound Omnia
Price per pair$4,300–$7,500$2,400–$7,000$3,000–$7,500$1,998–$3,998$2,798–$4,598$3,200–$6,500
StyleBehind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, completely-in-canalBehind-the-earIn-the-ear, completely-in-canal, invisible-in-canalCompletely-in-canalBehind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, completely-in-canalReceiver-in-canal
BatteryRechargeable and disposable optionsDisposableRechargeable and disposable optionsDisposableRechargeable and disposable optionsRechargeable and disposable options
Blue toothYesYesYesNoYesYes
Provisions Phone app, remote, and in-personPhone app, remote, and in-personPhone app, remote, and in-personPhone app, remote, and in-personPhone app, remote, and in-personPhone app, remote, and in-person
Finance supportDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailer
WarrantyDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailerDepends on retailer

Can Health Insurance Be Used to Pay for A Hearing Aid?

Yes! Although cost coverage from health insurance is minimal, per estimates, one out of four Americans may benefit from their medical insurer. On average, the lucky ones get around $1,257 coverage in general, which still lags far behind compared to the actual price of the aid. Although most of the States mandate hearing aid coverage for children through insurance however, merely six States include insurance coverage for adults. 

A State wise list is provided indicative of insurance cost per hearing aid and designated time period. 

State Cost per hearing aid Time period
Arkansas$140036 months 
Connecticut $100024 months 
Illinois $250024 months 
New Hampshire$150060 months 
Rhode Island $70036 months 
Washington State $300036 months 

Useful Tips And Suggestions for Hearing Aid Users

You may benefit max from your insurance by keeping awake to the situation. 

  • All insurances or warranties are time bound. Keep a good care of your aid and ensure its efficient working all the times.
  • Hearing challenges may remain in a flux. Some companies like bell tone may replace you with new powerful hearing aids; if in case your hearing loss has worsened after the first dispensation/ buy. Keep in contact with the audiologist to ensure that your hearing loss is static or otherwise. 
  • Nearer to the expiry of the contract, make a revisit to your audiologist and ensure a thorough checkup of your hearing and hearing aid. 
  • Decide in advance if you need to extend the warranty for another year, early decision will save you money. 
  • Some insurance companies through their extended plans may offer you a new aid after a given time; use this choice if you have an offer. It will get you a new aid for the same cost of insurance. 
  • Keep the contacts handy and maintain a diary regarding timely battery change and checkups.
  • Always use a prescribed battery and make no compromise on quality. Batteries serve as the life line of your aid, so be cautions. 
  • Storing a battery in a cool and dry place will add to their lives. During the night time as you take them out of the aid ensure to keep them near a humidifier.
  • Dead and weak batteries need to be immediately replaced.
  • The battery compartment is prone to absorb moisture quickly. Keep the vent of the compartment shut when not in use.

Are There Any Potential Scams Within The Hearing Industry?

Like any other business, there is a probability that a scams may surface. Since the respective audience of hearing aids is old and unaccustomed to the prevailing technologies, low-quality and outdated products may attract them as cheaper alternatives. The entire purpose of this article is to open up processes and scenarios whereby there is little or no chance of a fraudulent practice. 

  1. Always go for a renowned market brand. You must have information to differentiate between-the-counter and prescribed hearing aids.
  2. Look for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved versions. Go for the company’s reputation instead.
  3. Must not fall victim to rock-bottom prices, false claims, money-back guarantees, and empty promises. Keep a hold on your personnel information, and don’t share.
  4. Online buying and getting a mail-ordered hearing aid is most likely to end in a loss. Your hearing aid is specially programmed and crafted for your needs only. This requires complete audiological exams and fitting procedures in a clinical setting. Always opt for an in-person exam. 
  5. Sale offers, “buy one- get one,” and many others like it have some covert agendas, e.g., getting rid of old models, brands, technologies, etc. 
  6. A short trial period again might be a trap for you to make a hasty decision. Ensure to extend the trial period for 30-60 days and an in-store demo.
  7. Remember, ascertaining the suitability of your hearing aid requires more time, and any tempting decision will cause you frustration.

Hearing Aid Warranties Conclusion

Investing in a hearing aid becomes a challenge for many Americans. The investment becomes more bothersome when decisions have to be based on offered warranties. Many hesitations and questions may arise in the quest for which a clarification is mandated. The present article made an attempt to make the concepts of warranty and insurance to general masses. It is believed that the input will help the audience to make a worthwhile, informed decision with confidence and trust. 

The article made an attempt to provide a way out for the users to make maximum benefits of their warranties, claims and at the same time keep safe from the scams. 

References

Munawar Malik
Assistant Professor of Hearing & Speech | + posts

Munawar Is an Assistant Professor in one of the leading university in Pakistan. He holds a career of 31 years in the field of hearing, speech, language and special needs education as a clinician, consultant and a mentor. He has to his credit a series of articles and write ups in leading journals. More recently he has been on board with hearing people and contributing through his unique way of written expression.

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