Join Me in Advocating for Insurance to Cover Hearing Aids

As a board member for the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I have been asked, “How do I pay for hearing aids?”

For many, the price of hearing technology is just too much. Insurance does not usually cover hearing aids, and not everyone has a nest egg built up to purchase these expensive devices.

So how do you afford hearing aids?

I was diagnosed with progressive bilateral hearing loss at age 27. Since 2003, I have owned four pairs of hearing aids. All but one pair were charged to my credit card. The average price of each pair of hearing aids was $5,000. Multiply that times four sets of hearing aids.

I acknowledge having the resources to pay off the high balances of those hearing aids charged to a credit card. For many people, putting hearing aids on a credit card is not an option.

One in eight people in the United States aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. That is 13 percent of our country’s population or 30 million people. 

In my home state, the Kansas Insurance Department recently received a grant that officials recommend be used to help Kansans pay for medical items, such as hearing aids.  It is estimated that at least 382,000 Kansans live with hearing loss or deafness, many of whom could benefit from hearing aids but cannot afford them due to lack of insurance coverage.

Let’s look at why hearing aids are not covered by insurance.

When I contacted insurance companies about hearing aid coverage, the number one reason they are denied coverage is because the companies denote getting hearing aids as a “cosmetic” procedure. Plastic surgery is usually considered a cosmetic procedure, but hearing aids? 

How can hearing aids that help me hear at my job and in the community, and that help me hear tornado sirens, smoke detectors, and police sirens be classified as “cosmetic” objects? There is no logical answer.

Like prescription medication, hearing aids are a medical necessity.

Having hearing aids is a medical necessity that has been documented by records from audiologists, ENTs, and primary physicians. I have files full of this documentation that attests to my declining hearing levels.

Hearing aids enable me to be able to hear at my full-time job, be alerted to various sounds that keep me safe, hear on a telephone, and fully engage in my community. Without them, I would not be as successful with hearing my coworkers, the tornado sirens, the insurance representative I call on a telephone, or anyone who talks to me. 

Hearing aids are a medical necessity that should be covered by medical insurance.

Join me in advocating for insurance coverage of all hearing aids.

To learn more about the Kansas Insurance Department’s efforts to have hearing aids insured or to submit a written testimony to support these efforts, visit

Photo description:

Lipreading Mom shows off a side profile with one of her behind-the-ear hearing aids visible.


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