Over the past decade, the prices of most electronic devices have dropped considerably.  Smaller components, streamlined methods of manufacturing, and new business models have all contributed to the overall decrease in price of everyday digital products.  But, hearing aid prices have continued to increase.

Hearing Aid Prices Don’t Follow the Trend


Unlike hearing aid prices, those of most common day consumer electronics products – cameras, laptops, TVs and even GPS systems – have dropped on average by more than half! It is a very common trend in free markets where consumers have substantial choice on where to obtain their preferred products. Remember the origins of the desktop computer? It was traditionally sold for hefty sums at physical stores and outlets… until new, online business models offered consumers with a far more economical alternative where they could get the same product.

Low cost manufacturing in the Far East, streamlined production processes and the commoditization of components further accelerated this trend… but it all starts with offering consumers with choice. The only exceptions in the above example are the MP3 player and our old friend, the digital hearing aid.

The MP3 has experienced a price jump because its capabilities have advanced disproportionally compared to devices from 10 years ago. For example, the average MP3 player could store 128MB of data (roughly 12 songs) in 2000. However, today the average MP3 player can store 160G of data (roughly 40,000 songs)… a 1250x increase!

Hearing aids are a different story. Even models with basic capabilities have experienced a steady climb in price, making them unaffordable and unavailable to the majority of people with hearing loss. The average hearing aid prices have almost doubled in the past 10 years! Though today’s hearing aids can, in essence, “do more” because they now have additional channels, for most people with a mild to moderately severe hearing loss they are almost over-engineered.  The additional channels do not significantly help those with moderate hearing loss. In other words, the technological improvements in hearing aids have not made them more affordable— they have made them less accessible.

Times Are Different, Affordable Hearing Aids Will be Available

A major contributor to the high prices of hearing aids is the additional costs that are bundled with hearing aid sales – especially in the audiologist clinic. Historically, consumers had few alternatives on where to purchase affordable hearing aids – however new >online hearing aids distribution models area rapidly changing this… similar to the desktop computer example from earlier.

As markets become freer, consumers more educated, hearing technology more standardized and more choice abounds, hearing aid prices will eventually see a similar downwards trajectory. Audicus Hearing Aids’ direct model is part of this ongoing trend to make affordable hearing aids, which are more accessible.

Read more about the prices of hearing aids versus those of an iPad.

Sources: New York Times,,,,,,,

by Ramanjot Kang

10 responses to “Prices of Hearing Aids vs. Consumer Electronics

  1. It’s time for Consumer Reports magazine to do some research about hearing aid quality vs. pricing, and publish the results. So far they have shied away from such activity. Too bad.

    Buy a sophisticated laptop computer for $600 or $800, along with some built-in software, and then go out and buy a tiny computer that fits in your ear for $2,000 or $3,000!! It’s like the difference between $30 sunglasses and $300 sunglasses — not much except brand name.

  2. Am I wrong in this analysis? It’s based on an undergraduate course in audition at MIT, taught by a world expert Walter A. Rosenblith (see his Wikipedia entry), but I may be missing something.

    I don’t see that there’s any difference between any adjustment that an “audiologist” would do to a hearing aid and what every one of us does (or can do) in adjusting the EQ on a stereo or a smartphone. Maybe getting the fit right would be a factor, but that is not something that would warrant hundreds let alone thousands of dollars from each buyer. Aside from wave form, which I think is irrelevant here, the ONLY factors in sound are frequency and amplitude. And that comes down to the amplitude at each point in the frequency spectrum. Less technically: how loud are the highs, the mid-ranges, and the lows?

    Also, age-related hearing loss is the same for maybe 90% of the people: they need a boost in treble. Okay, break it down to 5 bands: bass, mid-range, mid-range to slightly treble, treble, high treble. For 98% of the population, wouldn’t that be just peachy?

    And wouldn’t that, made in China, sell for maybe $25? Because we’re talking about really mature technology. “Hi-fi” was introduced in the 1950s. Digital replaced analog with the introduction of the CD in the early 80s.

  3. Does Audicious have any data on increasing percentages of Americans needing hearing aids since 1920? I ask because I recently visited a nursing home & was sitting across a table from 90 year olds. The much younger person I was with was unable to hear me sitting next to me, yet the 90 year olds could hear me clearly sitting 3-feet away across the table (I know this because they were commenting on everything I said, lol). Makes me wonder at what decade decibel levels got so out-of-control in America hearing damage started to occur at very early ages.

  4. Everyone makes the same mistake when thinking about hearing aids. They all think that hearing aids are commodities, but unfortunately, they are NOT. The organ for hearing is damaged, and most people don’t purchase their hearing aids immediately. So when they think it’s time for a hearing aid (usually too late in many situation) they will not like the way the hearing aid sounds, they can’t understand what the are hearing because they waited too long and they just think they can buy the hearing aid and never see someone trained to counsel and adjust the hearing aid. Research clearly shows that people benefit greatly from properly fit hearing aids and from being appropriately followed. Unfortunately everyone is becoming too cheap to realize that spending the money once will give them a good set of hearing aids fro quite a while, unlike that set of eyeglasses you have to change each year when your prescription changes. And by the way, that person that went to university for so long? they can work wonders with the hearing aid, but everyone expects them to work for free. Downfall of society, everyone wants everything for nothing, until someone has to pay them some money

    1. people do not want cheap which is what they usually end up with at an inflated price. people want a quality product at a fair and reasonable price.

  5. In my humble opinion the hearing aid scam is much like the rest of the medical industry. People buy insurance. They pay their monthly fees and then when an area that they have a need arises and they go to see their doctor, optometrist or audiologist, and see what they will prescribe. Then they pay their deductible or through the nose for the prescribed product and go away thinking they are taken care of. People buy insurance because they don’t want to have to pay the big prices. Things would change dramatically if there were no insurance companies driving the prices up. In this case, that of audiology, this company is taking the industry on and making things better for the average person. My 101 year old mother just received NEW hearing aids, thanks to my 2 sisters who were not willing to consider Audicus, for over $3000. She had them for about 3 months, had only marginally better hearing and then died. So now there are $3000 hearing aids that will end up in the garbage. Meanwhile the audiologist is laughing all the way to the bank. When my needs arise , I will give Audicus a try, just like I did for Zinni Optical. I received prescription glasses for a fraction of what the local optometrist charges and every bit as good. People need to wake up. When it comes to costs of anything medical, how does anybody justify a $75 Apirin or any of the other charges from hospitals. They wouldn’t do it if there was no mega-insurance company there driving the costs.

  6. Can Audicus post the trends in pricing of its own models over time?

  7. I am a hearing-impaired sociologist and writer who has worked in public health for 25 years. the thing I don’t understand is why there is not stronger advocacy on this issue of cost, which really seems to so negatively affect people’s lives. I live in a state where in the rural counties, half the women over 65 have incomes below $14K. Of course they don’t get hearing aids! AARP et al should be stepping up to the plate on this issue.. Oh, PS I am thinking of buying from you. Thank you—such a much-needed service!

  8. Hi
    I am interested in getting a pair of hearing aids, but I really want a sound that isn’t tinny.I have almost decided to buy a pair of Unitron’s Quantum Pro for about $4000, but thought I would ask if any of your aids might provide similar benifits at a more affordable price. I have significant high frequency loss. Hope to “hear”:) from you Regards

  9. I have very narrow crooked ear canals. I tried getting fitted to hearing aids which were very expensive. they were uncomfortable, so I did not get them. I am really having trouble hearing especially in-group conversations. so, I know I need help but don’t want to pay an outrageous price for something that is uncomfortable. perhaps you have something that would work for me.

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