A comprehensive hearing test typically consists of two to three tests with each hearing test priced differently. Most people often hesitate when booking an audiological evaluation as they often underestimate their hearing loss or worry about the cost of an audiogram test.
If you are concerned about the price of a hearing test, this article will help answer some of your concerns.
How Much Do Hearing Tests Cost?
The average cost of a standard hearing test is $60 with medical insurance. This price can vary depending on the clinic, the practitioner, or the medical insurance company. Without medical insurance, the hearing test cost can increase upwards of $250.
Does Insurance Cover Hearing Tests?
Most medical insurance policies cover office visits with a copay ranging from $5 to $75. However, it is important that you speak with your health insurance provider before consulting an audiologist.
If insurance coverage is available, be sure to collect information regarding the extent and restrictions of the policy. Additionally, ask the service provider if coverage is applicable at all hearing centers or limited within a given network.
If you need to purchase a hearing aid, inquire with your insurance provider regarding the coverage of hearing aid trials, fittings, and purchases. Most insurance companies do not cover the costs of hearing aids, but some may cover connected costs such as hearing aid tests and fittings.
When to Check Your Hearing?
Most people do not pay close attention to their hearing. While it is easy to neglect our hearing, routine hearing tests should be a routine part of medical care, just like dental exams and eye exams.
The ASHA suggests that:
- children should take a hearing screening test every few years
- adults, every 10 years up to the age of 50,
- and individuals aged 50 and above should check their hearing every 3 years.
Below are the most common warning signs that indicate the need for a hearing checkup:
Difficulty understanding speech, especially in the presence of background noise
If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, it is time to consult an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.
How to Get a Hearing Test
To get your hearing tested, consult a licensed audiologist with a Doctorate degree in Audiology (AuD).
To find an audiologist, search for the American Academy of Audiology website and click on the heading, “Find an Audiologist.” You can also ask your general physician, friends, or family members to recommend an audiologist.
If you do not need a comprehensive hearing evaluation, take a hearing screening test instead. This test will determine the presence of hearing loss by indicating a “pass” or “fail.” If you fail the test, you should consider scheduling a full hearing check-up.
Remember that screening tests for hearing may not provide accurate results. A comprehensive hearing exam is better if you suspect hearing loss.
What to Expect at Your Hearing Exam
Audiologists are health care professionals who identify, diagnose, prevent and treat hearing and balance disorders.
A hearing exam typically consists of a review of your medical history, administration of hearing tests, and a discussion of the results. An audiology assessment usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour.
Below is a detailed explanation of what to expect during a hearing test.
Review of Your Medical History
Before testing, the audiologist will ask questions regarding your hearing health and medical history. Be sure to explain the different medications you may take, your current hearing difficulties, any presence of ear pain and ear itching, or any other problem related to your hearing.
To determine the presence, type, and severity of your hearing loss, the audiologist will perform various tests. These tests are non-invasive and painless. A comprehensive hearing exam typically includes the following tests: otoscopy, tests of the middle ear, and pure tone audiometry.
In otoscopy, the audiologist will check your ear using: an instrument called an otoscope, a light and a magnifying lens. The examiner will look inside your ear canal for any signs of infection or ear obstruction.
Tests of the Middle Ear
The test procedure used to assess middle ear function is called tympanometry. It checks how well your eardrum responds to changes in pressure. The results will reveal the presence or absence of fluid in the middle ear and other middle ear disorders.
Pure Tone Audiometry
This is the most important test in hearing evaluation. It measures your hearing threshold – the sound level below which you cannot hear. The resulting graph, called an audiogram, provides accurate information about the presence, type, and severity of hearing loss.
Discussion of the Results
Once the tests are administered, the audiologist will interpret the obtained results. During the discussion portion, the audiologist will explain whether you have hearing loss, the possible causes for your hearing loss, the type of hearing loss type and severity, and the different available treatment options.
During this portion, you can ask questions you have about your results.
What Happens if You Are Diagnosed With Hearing Loss?
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, the audiologist will explain the various treatment options available for your type and severity of hearing loss, and set realistic expectations for the progress.
Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Management options for hearing loss vary depending on the type and extent of hearing loss. Some of the most common treatment options include the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other amplification devices. Various assistive listening devices are also available, such as personal amplifiers and TV streamers.
Some types of hearing loss which include abnormalities of ear structure can be treated with surgery. Hearing loss due to earwax blockage is also reversible.
Discuss with your audiologist, the various management options, their pros and cons, and the practicality of implementation.
Monitoring and Follow-up
The audiologist will discuss hearing care, the monitoring of hearing, and the need for follow-up appointments.
If your condition needs the intervention of another professional, the audiologist will refer you to other health care specialists.
Close monitoring and regular follow-up appointments are necessary for some types of hearing loss. For instance, if an individual is regularly exposed to high noise levels, the hearing loss can worsen over time. In this case, it is important to use hearing protectors and regularly follow up with your doctor for a hearing checkup.
Hearing Aid Costs
Hearing aid prices can fall between $1000 and $6000. The factors that determine the cost of hearing aids include its features, connectivity, number of channels, and the level of technology.
Most insurance providers do not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, some private insurance companies may cover the costs of hearing aid tests and hearing aid trials. Contact your insurance service provider to learn about the coverage details of hearing aids.
Some individuals with hearing loss may need two hearing aids, while others may be able to manage with a single hearing aid.
Remember that hearing aids are an important investment, so research well before purchasing them. Try on two or three hearing aids to see which one provides the highest sound quality and comfort. Be sure to discuss with your audiologist your expectations for hearing aids, your price range, and any particular features you require.
Free Hearing Screenings
If you want to check your hearing at home, try the free hearing tests available online.
Many online websites offer a free hearing test, such as this free hearing screening by Resound. Before taking the test, find a quiet area. Headphones are preferred over speakers as headphones will give you ear-specific results. Adjust the volume to a comfortable level and start the test.
Most online hearing tests include an audio presentation of a set amount of words and numbers. You will have to select the corresponding words and numbers on the screen as soon as you hear them.
While a self-hearing test sounds convenient, remember that online test results are not reliable. If you suspect hearing loss, it is advised to consult a licensed audiologist for a hearing check-up.
The cost of a standard audiology test is $60, provided that your insurance policy covers office visits. Most insurance policies cover medical assessment with a copay between $5 to $75. If you do not have insurance, the hearing test can cost upwards of $250.
Contact your insurance provider before consulting a hearing care professional and discuss whether or not their policies cover hearing exams and hearing aids. While health insurance does not usually cover the cost of hearing aids, some may cover hearing aid tests and trial fittings.