Medicare Hearing Aids - Information to Know

Medicare Hearing Aids, and Your Options

If you or an elderly parent believes you may need a hearing aid, the first thing you need to do is visit your local ear doctor. Known as otolaryngologists, or ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors, such physicians are specially trained in the care and management of hearing, hearing loss, causes of dizziness, as well as tumors found in the ear.

Seniors should have their hearing checked regularly, and most especially if they notice that they have to turn their televisions louder, have difficulty hearing over the telephone, or find it difficult to follow topics of conversation in crowded environments.

If you believe that you or a parent is experiencing some hearing loss, schedule a visit with your ear doctor to determine a cause and receive a diagnosis. In many cases, your ear doctor will recommend the type of hearing aid that will prove most beneficial to your type of hearing loss. Today, hearing aids come in many different styles, from traditional over-the-ear type hearing aids to the ear buds to cochlear implants.

Choosing a Hearing Aid

Hearing Aids

Today, hearing aids come in a variety of styles, and capabilities. Some can fit inside the ear canal, and some fit halfway inside and outside the ear canal. Generally speaking, the smaller a hearing aid, the less power it has and the shorter battery life it has. Before choosing a hearing aid, however, it's important to know what the ear doctor suggests, how much medicare hearing aids will cost, and whether Medicare will even help pay for such costs.

Common styles for hearing aid include:

  • Half shell - this hearing aid fits in the bottom half of the outside portion of your ear. Designed for mild to moderately severe hearing loss, it features volume control and directional microphones
  • Full shell - this type of hearing aid is custom designed to each individual and fills nearly the entire outside area of the outer ear. This type of hearing aid is designed for anyone with mild to severe hearing loss and is typically easier for seniors to handle and insert into the outer ear canal.
  • Behind the ear - a traditional type of hearing aid that comes with a small earpiece that fits into the outside of the ear. This earpiece is attached to a small tube that in turn attaches to a receiver worn behind the ear. This type of hearing aid offers premium amplification and is effective for most types of hearing loss.
medicare hearing aids
  • In canal hearing aids - this type of hearing aid is designed to fit just inside the outer ear opening, while the completely in-the-canal hearing aid is the least noticeable.Even the traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids are more streamlined today than those you remember your grandparents wearing. Hearing aid electronics pick up signals that are converted into sound waves, which are then delivered to the ear.

Other types of hearing aids are those that are digital, which are also available in many different styles and price ranges.

Paying for Hearing Aids or are Medicare Hearing Aids Covered?

Hearing aids may cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and accessories such as remote controls and the style of hearing aid may also affect cost. An audiologist or your ear doctor will determine your needs and offer some suggestions on which may prove most beneficial to your type and severity of hearing loss. Private insurance policies may cover portions of or the entire cost of hearing aids, but always check your policy before purchasing. Medicare hearing aids are no exception.

** Medicare does not cover the cost of routine hearing aids or hearing exams.

Medicare Part B may cover some diagnostic hearing exams when ordered by a doctor or if a hearing problem is caused by a medical condition, disease process or specific head injury such as a tumor or traumatic accident.

Hearing Aids

Individuals, even if they have Medicare, may pay up to 100% of hearing aids and hearing exams. In some conditions, a doctor may order a diagnostic hearing exam, in which case, seniors who have Medicare may pay 20% of the total charges. Deductibles for such care will need to be paid for through Medicare Part B services and supplies. 

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