How to make the most of hearing benefits

Your health plan may include benefits to cover hearing aids, exams, discounts and more. Learn how to maximize them.

Doctor and patient talking while sitting at a table

Your hearing is important. But many people put off getting a hearing exam or buying hearing aids. In fact, half of all Americans with hearing loss don’t get it treated for over 2 years, according to a recent survey.1 And only about 1 in 6 adults who need hearing aids wear them.2

The reason? Most folks don’t think their hearing is bad enough to get treatment. Or they’re afraid of the costs.1 But what they may not know is that many insurance plans come with some type of hearing benefits.

“Hearing benefits lower the cost barrier,” says Barbara Kelley. She’s the executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America in Rockville, Maryland. Of course, coverage depends on your plan. But some include partial or full coverage for hearing aids, including follow-up visits.

So, it pays (literally) to know what your health plan covers, or not. Learn what to look for and how to maximize your benefits.

Doctor looking into a patients ear
Help keep your hearing healthy

EPIC Hearing Healthcare helps members access hearing exams, hearing aids and more. Sign in to learn more and check eligibility.

Find out if your insurance provider offers hearing benefits

Many people are familiar with vision and dental plans. But when it comes to hearing, not so much. People don’t often know that hearing tests, hearing aids and accessories are covered for hearing. “So, they really have to dig into their private insurance for that information,” says Kelley.

Are you over 65? Then you’ll want to find out what your Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan does and doesn’t cover, notes Kelley. For example, Original Medicare covers an audiology exam but not hearing aids, she says.

The first step is to check if hearing coverage is an option. Try calling your plan’s customer service and asking them to go over the hearing benefits information with you. Then call a hearing specialist’s office to see what charges may not be covered, suggests Erica Person, Au.D. She’s an audiologist at Flex Audiology in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

If you have Original Medicare, Part B will cover the cost of a hearing exam and consultation every 12 months, typically with a referral. But you’re responsible for paying for hearing aids and follow-up visits.3,4

Many Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offer extra benefits, including hearing benefits.4 For example, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans cover more than 2,000 hearing aids and have added new coverage for over-the-counter (OTC) ones too.5

Did you know that many hearing benefits, including a hearing exam and consultation, are covered through EPIC Hearing Healthcare? Learn more.

How to maximize these benefits

Did you find out that your plan has hearing benefits? That’s good news. Here are some ways to make the most of them.

Stick to in-network hearing care professionals. Using an audiologist or hearing aid specialist who is in network can help you save money. That’s because in-network providers have agreed to accept the insurance company’s negotiated rates. This may mean your out-of-pocket costs are less.

Before making an appointment, it’s a good idea to double check with the hearing plan to make sure that the hearing care professional is still in network. (If you’re an EPIC Hearing Healthcare member, go to the “find a provider” page to check.)

Don’t forget follow-up visits. If your plan includes follow-up visits after you get the hearing aids, make the most of that benefit. Follow-up visits are important for learning more about your hearing aids, including how to program them so you hear better no matter where you are. You’ll be able to get them adjusted during a follow-up visit or just ask questions.

Check to see how many visits are covered after you get hearing aids. EPIC Hearing Healthcare covers up to 3 follow-ups, depending on the hearing aid.

Take advantage of discounts. Some insurance companies work with third-party networks who offer discounts on hearing aids or exams, says Person. Patients typically get a routine hearing test and hearing aids.

With EPIC Hearing Healthcare, you can choose from a variety of affordably priced prescription hearing aids, including the Relate® brand.

See if your membership saves you money

If you’re a member of an organization or group, you may be able to save on hearing support. For example:

  • Do you serve in the military or are you a veteran? Active-duty members of the U.S. armed services and their families may qualify for hearing aid benefits through Tricare.6 And veterans may qualify for hearing aid benefits through the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.7
  • Federal employees who are members of the American Federation of Government Employees can access a no-cost hearing exam and discounted hearing aids through their Union Plus Hearing Care program.8

Bottom line: A hearing health plan can help you get the care you need. And may help you save money as well. If you do have hearing benefits, make sure you don’t let them go to waste. Request a hearing exam and consultation today.


  1. ASHA OTC Hearing Aid Survey American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Published August 22, 2023.
  2. Only 1 in 6 Americans with hearing loss wears hearing aids — here’s why National Council on Aging. Published August 11, 2023.
  3. Hearing and balance exams Accessed February 22, 2024.
  4. Hearing aids Accessed February 22, 2024.
  5. UnitedHealthcare’s 2024 Medicare Advantage Plans offer enhancements to benefits that matter most for members UnitedHealthcare. Published October 1, 2023.
  6. Covered services: hearing aids Tricare. Last updated March 20, 2022.
  7. Hearing aids U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Last updated December 8, 2023.
  8. Hearing care discounts American Federation of Government Employees. Accessed February 22, 2024.

Information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed medical provider. Consult your provider prior to making changes to your lifestyle or health care routine.

Benefits, features, and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations, exclusions and/or network restrictions may apply. Other hearing exam providers are available in the EPIC Hearing Healthcare network. These plans only cover hearing aids from an EPIC Hearing Healthcare network provider.

Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare.

Members who buy hearing aids from the Silver level will receive 1 follow-up visit.

Provider network size may vary by local market.