Our friends at Hearing Tracker just published an article on a hearing aid prices survey they undertook with Katherine Bouton (the author of Living Better With Hearing Loss) and the HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America). The survey results were interesting for many reasons, the people surveyed were predominantly experienced users who knew what they were about so the level of information given was pretty high. I just want to cover a few of the details here, you should go along to the original article for more in-depth breakdowns.
Hearing aid prices
The survey reports that the average price paid for a single hearing aid was $2372. Purchasing hearing aids as a pair reduced the cost slightly from an average unit price of $2560 (purchased as a single unit) down to $2,336 (bought as a pair).
Hearing aids purchased Average price paid
Single hearing aid $2,560 per device
Pair of hearing aids $2,336 per device
Price by technology level purchased
Higher-end hearing aids came in at an average price of $2,651 per device, and low-end hearing aids came in at about $1000 less, at $1,604 per device. Mid-range hearing aids came in at $2,063 per device.
Price by place of purchase
Interestingly enough, where people bought their hearing aids did not seem to affect hearing aid prices. Whether purchased from a name brand store (Miracle-Ear, Beltone, Etc), ENT office, or audiologist clinic, the average price paid was just over $2500. Prices at university and hospital clinics were slightly lower at $2432, and the average price paid at Costco was substantially lower, coming in at just over $1200. Interestingly, internet purchases came in only slightly lower than Costco at $1054 per hearing aid.
Hearing aids purchased on the internet either came with no in-person professional service or with limited in-person professional service. Internet purchases that included a professional fitting averaged $1533 while hearing aids bought without any professional fitting averaged $704 (Audicus, eBay, Amazon).
Over 2000 respondents
The survey results are based on pretty comprehensive data. Through their combined efforts, they were able to encourage over 2000 people to respond to the survey from people across every US state. There was also a pretty good spread of demographics as well.
They say that they received about 10% more of their responses from women, and over half of their answers from hearing aid users in the 55-74 age range. Those are ideal numbers if you are trying to understand anything about hearing aid use in the general population. The breakdown of age groups was as follows:
Age Group Percent
- 75 or older 24.5%
- 55 to 74 53.1%
- 35 to 54 13.7%%
- 18 to 34 4.0%
- Under 18 3.0%
They also wanted to get a clear idea of the income and employment status of the group to ensure they were getting a decent cross sample of people. The reported pre-tax household income for their sample lined up well with US national averages. The employment status reflected the fact that the sample included an ageing cohort with many retired people in the group.
Pre-tax household income Percent
- $150k+ 10.6%
- $100 - $149k 13.4%
- $50 - $99k 26%
- $25k - $49k 15.5%
- Under $25k 6.2%
Current employment status Percent
- Retired 51.7%
- Employed or homemaker 29.7%
- Self-employed 8.0%
- Student 3.4%
- Out of work or looking 1.7%
- Unable to work 2.1%
The sample also had a diverse hearing loss profile, running from mild at worst to profound at worst. The largest sample group classified themselves within the severe at worst category with the second largest group classing themselves at moderate at worst.
History of hearing aid use
Their sample had a lot of experienced hearing aid users. 67% of respondents having at least six years or more experience. We could reasonably extrapolate that perhaps 50% of the sample have probably purchased hearing aids twice.
Years of hearing aid use Percent
- 15+ years 40.6%
- 10-15 years 11.8%
- 6-10 years 14.4%
- 4-6 years 11.1%
- 2-4 years 8.1%
- 1-2 years 6.4%
- Under 1 year 7.2%
Hearing aid purchase trends
To understand the overall patterns within hearing aid purchases, they asked the respondents the following questions
- How many hearing aids they purchased (one or two)
- What brand and model of hearing aids they bought
- What level of technology they purchased
- What features their hearing aids came with
The answer to the questions was enlightening. The majority purchased a pair (84%) of hearing aids.
Number of hearing aids purchased Percent of respondents
The answers to the brand question showed some interesting results. Phonak was the most popular hearing aid brand followed by Oticon, ReSound, Widex, and Starkey. Interestingly enough, Kirkland Signature (Costco’s white-label brand) came in just below the major brands.
What brand of hearing aid(s) did you purchase? % of Responses
- Phonak 25.00%
- Oticon 18.60%
- ReSound 14.10%
- Widex 8.50%
- Starkey 7.90%
- Siemens 4.60%
- KS (Costco) 3.40%
- Rexton 2.80%
- Signia 1.80%
- Beltone 1.70%
- Unitron 1.70%
- Miracle-Ear 1.50%
- Bernafon 0.80%
- AGX 0.60%
When it came to the technology question, the majority (54%) reported buying top-end hearing aids, about a third reported purchasing mid-range, and less than four per cent said that they purchased low-end.
What level of technology did you buy? % of Responses
- Top-end 54.10%
- Mid-range 34.30%
- Low-end 3.70%
- Not sure 7.90%
That is an interesting spread of technology levels and I wonder myself is it representative of the wider purchases in the US. Abram has just started crunching all the data and you can expect even more interesting insights from him soon.
If you like what you see, share it so others can benefit
Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry for over ten years. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him
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