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Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids: A Complete Guide for Older Adults

Follow our guide to secure affordable hearing aids through the most accessible resources. Explore options provided by insurance, health care professionals, and support systems at the national, state, and local levels.
Aug 30, 2023
Written by:
Medical Reviewer: Hearing Instrument Specialist
Reviewed By: BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Key Takeaways

  • Financial assistance for hearing aids for older adults varies by location.
  • Start with resources closest to you, such as care partners and health care professionals.
  • Use financing plans and local support systems to bridge gaps in coverage.

More than 48 million Americans, including two in three adults over 70, live with hearing loss.1 But untreated hearing loss doesn’t just lead to arguments over the volume of the TV set, it’s also been linked to a higher risk of depression, cognitive decline, dementia, falls, emergency room visits, hospital stays, and a 46.5% rise in health care costs.2 Yet fewer than 15% of adults who need hearing aids use them,3 and it takes the average person nearly nine years to get a pair after learning they have hearing loss.4

For those without the financial resources to buy hearing aids for themselves, it can be difficult to locate the right resources that will help them to pay for hearing aids. “There is a patchwork of resources for getting hearing aids in this country that’s extremely different from state to state, and even county to county,” said Nicholas Reed, AuD, an audiologist and assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. “It’s like you’re walking on eggshells as you navigate it.”

In light of this, our Reviews Team created a comprehensive guide to finding financial assistance for hearing aids for older adults. In this guide we cover reviewing your insurance status and community-specific resources to comparing discount programs and securing financial aid.

Hearing aid resources for seniors through health insurance

“The first step to getting hearing aids is to check with your insurance—if you have insurance—to see what is covered,” said Barbara Kelley, executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Check with your insurance provider to see what’s covered and ask about additional services, such as activation and fitting, as well as the availability of participating providers in your area. Make sure to get clear answers to avoid any surprises, like unexpected out-of-pocket costs, Reed said.

Brian Murray, a hearing instrument specialist based in Raleigh, North Carolina, told us sometimes the easiest way to verify insurance is to have a hearing aid clinic check into it, since they’re typically well-informed on insurance lingo and know the right questions to ask insurance companies.

Here are resources for affordable hearing aids through private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and without insurance:

Hearing aids through private insurance

In most states, insurance providers are not required to cover hearing aids as part of hearing health care for adults. Five states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—have mandated coverage, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.5

To learn more about whether your insurance company covers hearing aids, read our article on whether hearing aids are covered by insurance to review the practices of some of the most popular health insurance companies, or contact your insurance company and ask them directly.

Hearing aids through Medicare

Medicare Parts A and B do not cover the cost of hearing aids or fitting exams,6 but Medicare Part B does cover hearing and balance exams ordered by a doctor, as well as an annual audiology appointment to check on hearing loss over the years.7 Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, may provide hearing benefits, but it depends on your plan.8

Murray explained many Medicare Advantage plans will have discounted rates through third-party vendors that partner with certain providers. The patient will ultimately purchase the hearing aids from the approved vendor, the devices will be sent to the participating provider, and the provider will be paid a “fitting fee” to fit the devices to the patient. Typically a certain amount of visits are included with the purchase, said Murray, with the patient paying out of pocket for subsequent visits and services.

For more detail, read our article on whether Medicare covers hearing aids to learn more about potential coverage for hearing aids, and use our Age Well Planner to connect with a broker who can explain your options.

Hearing aids through Medicaid

Medicaid coverage for hearing aids for adults varies by state and by plan, and specific coverage details can vary as well, Reed said. Again, ask about long-term coverage and any possible out-of-pocket costs you would be responsible for before you make the commitment.

“Those with Medicare and Medicaid can also sign up with insurance companies like United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield and typically get hearing aids covered at no out-of-pocket cost,” said Murray. “This coverage can vary state by state and the technology level of the hearing aids covered can vary county by county.”

To find out if your state covers hearing aids for older adults through Medicaid, check the coverage for adults section of the HLAA directory.9

Hearing aids through TRICARE

If you’re an active duty military service member and you or an immediate family member have been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be eligible to receive hearing aids through a TRICARE-approved provider.10 To learn more, visit the TRICARE hearing aids page.

Hearing aids with unknown insurance status or without insurance

Many people don’t know their insurance status—or don’t know they’re covered by Medicaid because their insurance card does not clearly state that they are, said Kelley. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

If you do not know your insurance status or the name of your health care provider, call the number on your insurance card for customer service, or visit and complete the screening process for more information.

Community-specific hearing aid resources

While contacting your insurance provider is a smart first step, it’s also important to consider community-specific resources. You may be able to access free or low-cost hearing aids if you are a military veteran, government employee, or member of an American Indian or Alaska Native community.

Here are a few options:

Hearing aid resources for veterans: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

“If you are a veteran, the VA has great hearing aid benefits from start to finish, so start by reaching out to your local office or representative,” said Sarah Lundstrom, AuD, a board-certified audiologist based in Florida. To access hearing aids and assistive technology, you need to register for VA medical care in person or online.11 If you choose to register in person, be sure to review the documents you’ll need, such as your Social Security number, insurance information, and past-year household income, if applicable.

Visit the VA website to learn how to apply for VA hearing health care and find the nearest clinic. If you need support navigating the process, seek guidance from an accredited representative, such as a claims agent or veterans service officer.12

Hearing aid resources for federal employees: Federal Employee Program

If you work for the federal government or have in the past, check out the Federal Employee Program (FEP) through Blue Cross Blue Shield (BC/BS). The FEP Blue Focus plan provides hearing aid discounts, while the Basic and Standard plans offer an allowance of up to $2,500 every five years for hearing aids and hearing aid supplies.13 To determine the most suitable option for you, learn about FEP plans and use the FEP Medical Plan Finder tool.

Hearing aid resources for government employees: American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

If you’re a member of the AFGE—or become one—you can access discounted hearing aids as a part of their Union Plus Hearing Care program.

This includes:

  • A free hearing exam
  • Discounted hearing aids as low as $695 each, including trusted brands like Amplifon, Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Rexton, Signia, Sonic, Starkey, Unitron, and Widex
  • Aftercare support including a 60-day risk-free trial, unlimited follow-ups for one year, and a three-year warranty that covers loss and damage 14

Visit the AFGE Hearing Care Discounts page to learn more.

Hearing aid resources for workers: State vocational rehabilitation programs

State vocational rehabilitation services help people with disabilities to gain or maintain employment. If you have not yet retired and need hearing aids to keep your current job or to get a new one, your local agency may be able to help cover the cost.15 For more information, contact your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency.

Hearing aids with employee benefits programs: Health savings plans

To cover out-of-pocket expenses for hearing aids, you could also pull money from your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).16

Hearing aid resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Indian Health Service

Indian Health Service, a federal program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, provides audiology services that typically include a hearing exam, hearing aids, and follow-up appointments.17 To find a local clinic, visit the Indian Health Service website.

Discount programs and financing plans

When it comes to paying for hearing aids, it helps to know your level of need first. You can start with a free hearing test online, but keep in mind this is only to get a general understanding of your situation.

“Free tests are often very basic hearing screenings and do not rule out medical complications or test deeper into your hearing problems,” Lundstrom said. “Although it may be sufficient to get hearing aids, you may not have the best outcomes without thorough testing.”

For a more complete picture of your hearing and ear health, consult with an audiologist. You can find one through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association ProFind search tool.18

If you have mild to moderate hearing loss rather than severe hearing loss, you can also consider over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. According to Reed, OTC hearing aids could be a suitable option if you live in a rural area and/or have limited access to in-person clinics, are relatively tech-savvy, and feel comfortable fitting and adjusting your own hearing aids.

When comparing offers, it’s essential to consider the full cost. “When you buy hearing aids, the cost of the device is about one-third of the price. The rest [of the costs] are the services, so you have to find out what is bundled into an offer,” said Kelley. To find out what other services may be included in your hearing aid purchase, read reviews from trusted sources, like our guide to the nine best OTC hearing aids, and prioritize must-haves like a clear return policy, warranty coverage for damage and loss, and accessible customer service.

Here are a few resources that may help you find and afford the right hearing aid:

Yes Hearing

Yes Hearing is a discount network that offers name-brand hearing aids like Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, and Signia at up to 40% off retail prices. After a free hearing consultation, your new hearing aids are delivered to your home by a specialist who will help test your hearing and customize the device to meet your needs. Few details are available online, though, so be sure to ask about follow-up care. For a free initial consultation, fill out the form at the bottom of the page at Yes Hearing.19

AARP hearing aid discounts

AARP members with UnitedHealthcare coverage are eligible for free hearing exams, hearing aids as low as $699 per ear, and a 15% discount on hearing aid accessories.20 To learn more, visit the AARP Hearing Solutions page.

Hearing aid financing resources

Many clinics and OTC hearing aid companies offer financing or subscription plans if you have room in your budget for monthly payments, but make sure to review the terms of the agreement to ensure it’s a feasible financial option for you. For example, Affirm—the “buy now, pay later” financing option for Walmart—can sometimes come with interest rates that would be higher than using a credit card. To avoid this headache, consult with an audiologist to explore various financing options before committing to a plan.21

Read our reviews to learn about hearing aid prices and financing through big box stores like Best Buy and Walgreens, as well as subscription plans from companies like Lexie Hearing and Audicus.

Financial assistance for free or low-cost hearing aids

If you cannot afford hearing aids through the above resources, many financial assistance programs can help cover the cost. Kelley recommended asking a local audiologist to direct you to the most useful resources in your area.

Here are a few resources that may help cover the cost of hearing aids:

National and state resources for hearing aids

From local hearing aid banks to nonprofit organizations like the Easter Seals, AUDIENT, HIKE Fund, Inc. and Help America Hear program, a variety of national and state resources can help get hearing aids into your hands. Review hearing aid programs at the Hearing Aid Project directory, or contact your area agency on aging for support in narrowing down your options.

Starkey Cares Neighbors in Need program

While the Starkey Hearing Foundation no longer offers the Hear Now program, it does have the Starkey Cares-Neighbors in Need program. For an application fee of $300.22, Neighbors in Need offers hearing aids and up to five follow-up appointments to people who have limited financial resources.22 To start the process, use this search tool to find the closest Starkey Cares partner and ask about the eligibility requirements for the Neighbors in Need program.

Miracle-Ear Foundation

The Miracle-Ear Foundation provides the company’s hearing aids and hearing aid support services to “families or individuals who have incomes that are significantly limited, who are unable to afford the high costs of quality hearing instruments, and have exhausted all possible resources for their hearing health.” Besides an initial $150 non-refundable application fee, services—including a three-year warranty, aftercare, and check-ins—are free.

You may be eligible if your household has no income or a very low income and you’ve been denied financing options at the Miracle-Ear store.23 You can learn more about eligibility requirements and find a center in your area at the Miracle-Ear Foundation website.

Community service organizations

Civic service groups could support you through the process of seeking hearing aids and potentially provide financial aid, but their capacity varies depending on the specific group.

Click through the links below to find your closest chapter and get connected:

Additional resources

Beyond the above resources, you may also benefit from assistive listening devices.

Click through the links below to learn more:

Bottom line

Hearing aids are a necessity for your health and well-being, but finding the best fit for you or your care recipient at a price you can afford can be tricky. Save time and money by starting with the resources closest to you: supportive loved ones, caregivers, an audiologist, and community organizations you trust. With their help, explore your options until you find a plan that works for you. Most importantly, don’t give up. You deserve to regain your hearing and connection with the world again.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions about this article? Email us at


  1. Lin, Frank R., et al. Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States. Archives of Internal Medicine. November 2011. Found on the internet at
  2. Reed, Nicholas S., et al. Trends in Health Care Costs and Utilization Associated With Untreated Hearing Loss Over 10 Years. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. January 2019. Found on the internet at
  3. Chien, Wade and Lin, Frank R. Prevalence of Hearing Aid Use Among Older Adults in the United States. Archives of Internal Medicine. February 2012. Found on the internet at
  4. Simpson, Annie N., et al. Time From Hearing Aid Candidacy to Hearing Aid Adoption: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Ear Hear. May 2019. Found on the internet at
  5. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. State Insurance Mandates for Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at
  6. Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at
  7. Hearing Exam Coverage. Found on the internet at
  8. Medicare Advantage Plans cover all Medicare services. Found on the internet at
  9. Hearing Loss Association of America. Medicaid. Found on the internet at
  10. TRICARE. Hearing Aids – Covered Services. Found on the internet at:
  11. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rehabilitation and prosthetic services. Found on the internet at
  12. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Get Help From an Accredited Representative. Found on the internet at
  13. Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program. Compare Plans. Found on the internet at
  14. American Federation of Government Employees. Hearing Care Discounts. Found on the internet at
  15. Rehabilitation Services Administration. State Vocational Rehabilitation Facilities. Found on the internet at
  16. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Publication 969. Found on the internet at
  17. Indian Health Service. Audiology. Found on the internet at
  18. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. ASHA ProFind. Found on the internet at[Audiologist]
  19. Yes Hearing. Yes Hearing. Found on the internet at
  20. AARP. AARP Hearing Solutions. Found on the internet at
  21. CNBC. Affirm Review: When Should You Use ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Provider? Found on the internet at
  22. Starkey Cares Neighbors in Need One Pager. Starkey Cares. Found on the internet at
  23. Miracle-Ear Foundation. Miracle-Ear Foundation Eligibility. Found on the internet at
  24. Hearing Loss Association of America. State Telephone Programs. Found on the internet at
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