Just like any other electronic device, hearing aids wear out, break, and stop working – sometimes for no apparent reason. Even if you’ve taken the best possible care to keep your hearing aid dry, clean and free of damage, components like receivers can eventually succumb to years of wax, oil and wear; casings can crack or break; circuits can short. If you own hearing aids, you should count on repairs at some point in their lifespan. Depending on that type of hearing aid you wear, the type of repair or replacement part needed, and whether or not it’s still under warranty will determine how much it will cost.

During the warranty period

Most hearing instrument specialists offer a one or two-year manufacturer warranty with hearing aids they dispense. Although the exact terms will vary (be sure to read them carefully), this initial warranty includes replacement or repair of miscellaneous parts and, usually, one complete replacement. You may still need to pay a hefty deductible for replacement – in some cases, as much as several hundred dollars. Still, a few hundred dollars is always better than a few thousand.

Extended warranty and insurance

After the warranty has expired, you’ll be responsible for all repair or replacement costs unless you choose to purchase an extended manufacturer warranty. Considering that most hearing aids last longer than five years and need repairs as frequently as a few times a year, paying for a longer warranty isn’t a bad idea. Besides extended manufacturer warranties, you can also purchase inexpensive insurance from private-party providers; some homeowner’s insurance companies will also allow you to add a hearing aid to your existing policy.

Out-of-pocket costs

If you have to pay out of pocket, here’s what to expect:

  • $300-$400 for mechanical defects (microphone, receiver, etc.)
  • $500-$600 for re-casing or face place replacement (the ‘shell’ of your hearing aid)

These prices will vary depending on the specific model and features you have. The good news is that some replacement parts, such as casings, come with their own warranties. If a hearing instrument specialist is unable to repair your casing or faceplate, check with reputable independent labs, which often boast that they can repair just about anything. It will still cost to send the hearing aid out, but much less than replacement.

Hearing aids are expensive, and in spite of taking care of them, warrantying and insuring them, you may still end up investing money in them at some point. Keep in mind that they are an investment – in your hearing. Like any good investment, they will more than pay for themselves by enhancing your quality of life.