Access to a broad selection of hearing aids: Health plan members want it, and so do their hearing care providers. But reality doesn’t always align with expectations, according to national surveys of consumers and providers.
When a hearing benefit administrator limits product choice, members might not get hearing aids that precisely address their needs and preferences. As discussed in an Amplifon white paper, “Hearing Health Care: More Choices, Better Outcomes,” the consequences of this mismatch may be reflected in hearing aid adoption rates. Nearly one in four surveyed non-Amplifon beneficiaries do not wear their hearing aids every day. Even more concerning, 11% of this group said they never wear the hearing aids prescribed by their provider.
Hearing aids that end up in a drawer obviously deliver no benefit to the member and no value to the health plan. Untreated hearing loss also elevates the risk of significant — and costly — health conditions, including depression, dementia and injury-causing falls. It also increases the likelihood of social isolation and loneliness.
Finally, consider this sobering statistic from a 10-year research project: Total health care costs for older adults with untreated hearing loss were $22,434 (or 46%) higher than the costs for people with no hearing loss.
Download the white paper here to read more about the potential impacts of a limited hearing aid formulary, as well as summaries of the consumer and provider surveys.