Warranties and hearing aids: How they work, and how to extend your coverage
Hearing aids are small, fragile and expensive. That’s a tough combo: If things go wrong, it can be a pricey proposition.
Fortunately, when you purchase your hearing aids, they come with a warranty. Here’s what you need to know—and why you may want to opt for an extended warranty, as well as additional loss and damage insurance.
Hearing aids have a warranty by default
As soon as you purchase your hearing aid, the device is covered.
The manufacturer provides at least one year of comprehensive loss, damage, and repair coverage. For hearing aids with more complex technology, the warranty is longer, often lasting up to three years, says audiologist Michelle Matyko.
While the coverage is from the hearing aid manufacturer, it’s your clinician that fulfills the contract, Matyko says. If you have issues with hearing aids while you’re under warranty, reach out to your audiologist or hearing aid provider first, she says.
Wax and moisture from the ear canals are the most common reasons hearing aids need repairs, Matyko says. “For behind-the-ear hearing aids, the audiologist or hearing aid provider can usually replace things like a tube or wire in the office, through supplies they have on hand,” she says.
With in-the-ear hearing aids or custom hearing aids, where the wax causes the hearing aid to become distorted or work intermittently, the process is more time-consuming, she says. “In this case the hearing aid would need to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair which usually has a turn-around time of approximately a week,” Matyko explains.
Whether repairs occur in the office or require the devices to be sent out, the costs are covered. “The warranty usually includes office visits at no charge during the warranty time,” Matyko says, although she notes this can vary from one hearing aid provider to another.
Loss and damage policies are covered during the initial warranty
It’s quite common to lose a hearing aid (or two).
Usually, it’s just a matter of misplacing them, says Mike Eckert, senior vice president of business development at ESCO, which provides extended warranties and loss and damage coverage for hearing aids. During the pandemic, the other common reason for hearing aids being lost was face masks, since the ear loops can easily hook on the devices, tugging them out a person’s ear, Eckert says.
If you lose your hearing aid—or they are damaged beyond repair—you can take advantage of the one-time replacement coverage. (That’s per ear—if you lost your right hearing aid twice, only the first replacement would be covered by the initial manufacturer warranty.)
What fees are involved?
While the replacement is covered, you’ll likely have to pay a deductible or service fee, Matyko says, noting that cost varies depending on your hearing aid provider and manufacturer. It might be a flat fee of around $400 she says, or a charge of 10 percent of the initial hearing aid cost.
That’s low compared to the sticker price of a brand-new hearing aid.
If you’re the type of person who buys new sunglasses annually to replace ones that have gone missing, you may be relieved to know that you can purchase additional loss and damage coverage while you’re still under the original warranty, per Eckert.
Otherwise, if you lose a hearing aid the first time, the manufacturers will help out, but with a second loss, you’re on your own, Eckert says.
Extended warranties for hearing aids
On average, most people wear their hearing aids for five years. But initial manufacturer warranties expire after one and three years.
Extended coverage—offered by third parties such as ESCO, as well as through some hearing care providers—bridges that gap. Not everyone needs this coverage, Eckert says. A few factors to consider before opting to purchase it:
You can extend your warranty through your hearing aid manufacturer, Matyko says. This may cost $250 or more per individual hearing aid, she says. Third-party insurances, such as ESCO, are often cheaper, she notes.
If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you can check with your insurance carrier to see if a personal property rider to your policy can cover your hearing aid device.
Always ask for details
When you purchase your hearing aids, ask about the warranty coverage and if there are fees associated with repairs and replacements, Matyko advises.
If you’re interested in extended hearing aid coverage, or purchasing additional loss and damage protection, your hearing aid provider can help steer you in the right direction there as well, helping you consider what makes sense given your lifestyle, budget, and current hearing aids.
The price for extended warranty and loss and damage replacement are set based on the hearing aid’s make, model, and manufacturer, Eckert says. He describes the claims process as “simple, easy, straightforward.”
The bottom line: This insurance offers peace of mind and protection of your investment in your hearing, Eckert says. With proper care and the right warranty coverage, you can enjoy many years of worry-free hearing aid wear.