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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids? Financial Assistance for Better Hearing, Explained

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids - featured. Doctor examining the inside of a woman's ear using an otoscope or auriscope

Medicare doesn't usually cover the cost of hearing aids, but there are ways you can get help to pay for them

Hearing aids are expensive. As we explain in our article on hearing aid costs, the average pair costs more than $4,600, with some powerful aids costing $8,000 or more. If you’re eligible for Medicare and you need help to hear better, you may be wondering whether it covers hearing aids.

Unfortunately, in most cases, it doesn’t. Original Medicare – also known as Medicare Parts A and B – does not cover the cost of hearing aids, nor does Medigap – a type of supplemental insurance. However, Medicare Advantage – known as Medicare Part C – often does cover hearing aids.

There are also several other ways you can get help paying for hearing aids, including charitable foundations, tax rebates and veterans’ benefits.

In this article, we’ll explain what Medicare does and does not cover pertaining to hearing loss, and explore the different Medicare plans that may be available to you. We’ll also look at other ways you can find help buying the best hearing aids for you.

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What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health coverage program, generally for people aged 65 and older though it also covers people suffering kidney failure (end-stage renal disease) requiring dialysis or a transplant, and certain younger people with disabilities or some serious diseases.

Medicare currently has four “Parts”:

  • Part A (hospital insurance) – aka Original Medicare
  • Part B (medical insurance) – aka Original Medicare
  • Part C (plan-based alternative to A and B) – aka Medicare Advantage
  • Part D (prescription drug coverage)

If you’re eligible for Medicare, you can get either Original Medicare (both A and B) or a Medicare Advantage plan; however, you have to enroll in Original Medicare before you can upgrade to Medicare Advantage.

Most people who qualify for Original Medicare are automatically eligible for Medicare Advantage plans, which are sold by private insurers. By law, Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything Original Medicare does – such as hospitalizations and annual medical checkups – but, as we’ll see, they also provide more than Original Medicare – including hearing aids.

Does Original Medicare cover hearing aids?

Original Medicare doesn’t cover much for older adults when it comes to hearing, vision or dental care. Hearing aids are among the many devices it doesn’t pay for.

As well as failing to cover the cost of hearing aids, Original Medicare also excludes fittings for hearing aids and hearing exams specifically for hearing aids.

There’s one exception: Medicare Part B will cover the cost of a hearing exam if your doctor orders it as part of a medical diagnosis. However, you will still need to pay the Part B deductible plus 20% of the approved Medicare cost, and there may also be additional hospital charges to pay.

Why doesn’t Original Medicare cover hearing aids?

Hearing aids have been excluded ever since Medicare began, six decades ago. The Medicare Act of 1965 stated that hearing aids were “routinely needed and low in cost”, the implication being people would have no problem paying for them.

There were other factors at play in the initial exclusion of hearing aids, including shorter lifespans and a limited understanding of the impact hearing loss can have on people’s lives. In 1965, the average life expectancy in the US was 66.8 years for men and 73.7 years for women, compared with 79.25 in 2024. Back then, there were fewer people suffering from age-related hearing loss and those that did were just considered to be “a little deaf”.

Today, the impact that age-related hearing loss has on mental health, social engagement and quality of life is far more widely understood but, while nearly one-third of adults aged 70 and over suffer hearing loss serious enough to disrupt their daily communication, fewer than a quarter of adults with significant hearing loss use hearing aids.

Unfortunately, despite multiple attempts to pass legislation adding hearing aid coverage to Medicare – the most recent being the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act of 2019 – the law has not kept pace with advancements in medical knowledge and, according to the Commonwealth Fund, “among Medicare beneficiaries, 75 percent of people who needed a hearing aid did not have one.”

Does Medicare Advantage cover hearing aids?

The short answer is yes, but you should be aware of exclusions in your plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans cover some or all of the cost of hearing aids, exams and fittings, but the amount covered will depend on your specific plan. You may also be required to buy your hearing aids from certain, specified providers.

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids. Close up of the side of a man's head. He has a finger on the setting button on his hearing aid

Medicare Advantage also usually covers dental care, prescription drugs and eyeglasses although, again, it depends on the plan.

If you don’t yet have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to make sure you choose one that covers the hearing aids you want to buy, enter your zip code in Medicare’s “Find a Plan” tool to find out what’s available to you.

How do I apply for Medicare Advantage?

First, you need to get Original Medicare. You can apply via the Medicare website.

You can then buy a Part C (Medicare Advantage) plan, either during your initial enrollment or later. Whether buying Medicare Advantage later, or switching from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t cover hearing aids to one that does, you can do so during the Medicare enrollment periods:

  • Medicare open enrollment: October 15 – December 7
  • Medicare Advantage open enrollment: January 1 – March 31

Medicare also offers special enrollment periods for certain situations, such as moving house, and you can find out more about these on the Medicare website.

When enrolling in Medicare Advantage, we advise speaking to a licensed Medicare agent before you talk to insurance representatives. The agent will help you determine which insurance plans have the best hearing aid coverage, and work out your monthly premiums and deductibles.

You can contact an agent 24/7 using Medicare’s live chat service or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

How else can I get help to pay for hearing aids?

With hearing aids costing an average of $4,600 per pair, and features such as Bluetooth and built-in rechargeable batteries likely to push the price even higher, many people need help covering the cost of these life-changing devices.

If you can’t or don’t want to get Medicare Advantage coverage for hearing aids, there are other things to try:


Medicaid is a healthcare option for people on low incomes or with certain disabilities. Federal guidelines require all states to provide hearing aid coverage for children and young adults until the age of 21, but hearing aids for older adults are only covered in certain states.

In the states that do cover hearing aids for older adults, eligibility can vary according to factors such as the degree of hearing loss. In most cases, you will need a medical diagnosis of hearing loss and a prescription from your doctor first.

To find out what you may qualify for, check out the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)’s state-by-state guide to Medicaid hearing aid coverage.

State mandated coverage

Around half the 50 states currently mandate that health insurance companies cover hearing aids for children, and five states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire and Rhode Island) extend those mandates to adults.

Details vary between the states that mandate coverage. You can find out your state’s position via the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s guide to state insurance mandates for hearing aids.

Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits

U.S. military veterans who qualify for VA healthcare are likely eligible for free premium hearing aids. If this may apply to you, you can apply online by filling out Form 10-10EZ and then making an appointment at an audiology clinic for an assessment.

If you are prescribed hearing aids then the devices, repairs. and even the batteries, will be provided for free as long as you qualify for VA healthcare.


No employers – not even government agencies and educational institutions – are required to provide hearing aids for communication access. However, insurance through work typically covers hearing aids to some degree because these devices can help you be more efficient at work.

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids. The back of woman's head. She has a hearing aid in one ear and is taking the second one out of a box

Your employer may also offer a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), which lets you withdraw pre-tax dollars to pay for hearing aids, hearing aid batteries and repairs. To find out what your employer offers, reach out to your HR department.

If hearing loss is affecting your ability to work, you can also look into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which provides monthly payments to eligible people.

Private health insurance

Some private health insurance and supplemental insurance plans cover hearing aids and hearing tests, often paying a specified amount towards the cost. Check for any negotiated discounts to save money on the retail price of hearing aids provided by companies partnered with your insurer.

Charitable foundations

Many charitable groups provide new or used hearing aids for free or at a discount if you meet certain financial criteria.

For example, the Miracle-Ear Foundation supports hearing-impaired people of all ages to buy hearing aids and have hearing exams. Eligibility is based entirely on financial need, but applicants must show that they have exhausted all other possibilities first, including Medicaid, VA and state programs.

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids

If all else fails, you can now buy hearing aids over the counter without a prescription, and for much less money than prescription hearing aids, with prices as low as $240 per pair.

OTC aids were approved for sale in 2022 by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and are only suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Several high street stores, such as Walgreens, Best Buy, CVS and Walmart, now sell a range of OTC hearing aids, including hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and customizable settings.

Since many of the money-saving options we’ve explored in this article take time to organize, a pair of OTC hearing aids could give your hearing a boost while you wait for prescription hearing aids, or while you apply for help funding them. You may even discover that OTC hearing aids are the only ones you need.

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