The Cost of Hearing Aids in NZ: What Makes a Hearing Aid Good Value?

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Like most Kiwis, we’re keen on a fair go and good-value hearing aids for all and sundry. We can help you understand the cost of hearing aids in NZ. We think everyone who needs hearing aids should have the support and funding to access them. And let’s face it, anything that’s good value makes us smile.

Thankfully, some people have a few funding options, but not everyone is covered, and they must navigate their hearing aid purchase independently.

At Ear Health, we’re upfront about our pricing and the investment you make in your hearing health.

We have absolutely no hidden fees and no extra costs. We want to provide you with the best value for money hearing aids in NZ. That means keeping prices as low as possible and providing you with the best service and support for the life of your hearing aids.

The quality and quantity of support you receive after buying your hearing aids can be just as important as the hearing aids themselves. That’s why you will receive a Hearing Aid Satisfaction Guarantee​ with any pair of hearing aids purchased at Ear Health.

Thankfully, the price of quality hearing aids that work admirably in most listening situations has significantly decreased in the last few years. This cost reduction is mainly due to new technology from flagship models trickling down into less expensive options.

What About Cheap Hearing Aids?

Don’t be misled by attempts by some providers to appear to be the cheapest. There are still plenty of lesser-quality hearing aids that are comparatively “cheap”, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Regarding the cost of hearing aids in NZ, it’s also important to consider more than just the ticket price.

There’s a good reason why most of us have heard stories about people who buy or receive hearing aids but end up living in the sock drawer.

Older hearing aid technology was at times challenging to adjust to and uncomfortable. As you can imagine, the older the technology is, the cheaper it becomes. So exercise caution and restraint if you see an offer too good to be true.

Sometimes hearing aid retailers even quote or advertise a lower price and charge additional fees for future services.

When comparing Ear Health with another provider, please understand what support and services we provide when purchasing your hearing aids.

For example, the cost of hearing aids may or may not include a full range of services like a free ear wax removal or a full diagnostic hearing test once a year for six years. Over the life of your hearing aids, this can save you hundreds of dollars.

3 Reasons Why It Can Be Difficult To Compare the Cost of Hearing Aids in NZ

In our humble opinion, three related yet distinct issues contribute to the lack of information about hearing aid pricing in NZ.

  1. Pricing transparency on behalf of the hearing aid retailer.
  2. Self-regulatory industry policies that inhibit pricing transparency.
  3. The common practice of bundled pricing.

Below we discuss each of these issues in more detail.

1. Price Transparency on Behalf of Established Hearing Aid Chains and Retailers

It is common practice for many established hearing aid chains and retailers only to provide pricing information once you’re in the clinic. While this approach may not be immediately transparent and not please everyone, it is essential to note several reasons for this approach.

Firstly, providing hearing loss solutions is complex and requires extensive knowledge to provide valid pricing information. Hearing aid chains and retailers employ individuals with the expertise to provide this information precisely and reliably. As such, speaking with them in person helps to ensure the most accurate pricing possible.

Secondly, hearing aids are medical devices that require a customised approach. Every person’s hearing needs are unique. The solution may vary according to this individualised approach—personalised consultations factor in the patient’s hearing needs, lifestyle and preferences.

Finally, most hearing aid providers prioritise patient satisfaction above all else. By providing pricing information during an in-person consultation, they can ensure that the client fully understands the options and can decide on the best course of action.

For these reasons, while it may not be desirable for some, hearing aid chains’ approach to providing pricing information is usually intended to provide the best possible outcome for each client.

2. Self-Regulatory Policies That Can Alter Public Discussion About Hearing Aid Pricing

In New Zealand, audiologists cannot advertise or promote specific hearing aid brands or models. That’s why you can often find hearing aid prices on eBay, Amazon, and even on Australian-based hearing aid websites, but not in NZ.

This policy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it insulates audiologists from being associated with potentially biased hearing aid manufacturer advertising. On the other hand, it obstructs public discussion and comparison of hearing aid brands, models and, consequently, pricing.

3. The Common Practice of ‘Bundled Pricing’

Another fork in the road for quickly understanding what you get for your money is knowing what services, warranties and guarantees are included with the price of your hearing aids.

The industry norm is to bundle pricing. What that means is all of the services you require to have your hearing aids fitted, fine-tuned, and kept in working order over time are usually included in the purchase price.

The level of detail with which those services, warranties and guarantees are described can vary from one hearing aid clinic or retailer to the next. So be sure you understand what is included and for how long.

Some clinics may include additional or bonus services such as ear wax removal, yearly hearing tests and replacement hearing aid moulds. If these services are included, read the fine print, mainly how often the service is provided and how many years after purchase.

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Being Satisfied With Your Hearing Aid Purchase?

Most importantly, check the fine print concerning what’s included in the quoted price of hearing aids. If you’re not satisfied with the level of detail, ask plenty of questions.

The terms of hearing aid warranties backed by manufacturers, but managed by the clinic or retailer, are reasonably consistent across most major hearing aid brands. However, make sure you understand the following:

  • the duration of the warranty
  • what kind of damage or malfunction is covered under the warranty
  • the steps involved in the case of a warranty claim.

Also, be wary of any warranty not directly backed by the manufacturer. If you’re unsure or can’t get a straight answer, get a second opinion and take your time to decide.

We all make assumptions occasionally, but it’s best to be as curious as possible when dealing with your long-term hearing health.

There’s no such thing as a silly question about your hearing health and what’s included with your hearing aid purchase.

Also, consider asking the larger hearing aid retailers for disclosure about which manufacturer they are owned by, and the brands of hearing aids they sell. Understanding their alliances will ensure you are not asking for a quote on a product they don’t usually supply.

Although a hearing clinic or retailer may have access to a wide range of hearing aid brands, most focus on two or three brands they fit most of the time.

Don’t forget retailers and independent clinics are businesses too. And like all companies, there are operating costs to consider. Such as the training budget for audiologists and staff to effectively and efficiently fit and support several hearing aid brands.

The six largest hearing aid manufacturers invest heavily in research and development (R&D). A consequence of sustained R&D is constantly evolving technologies that take time and money for practitioners to keep up to date. For example, every manufacturer has yearly product updates, new portfolio additions, and proprietary fitting software for audiologists to learn.

If you have questions about good-value hearing aids, speak to someone today at one of our Auckland or Christchurch clinics.

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