If you experience hearing loss, the use of a hearing aid can help you regain your confidence in conversations and restore your sense of awareness in your environment. However, many people who use hearing aids can find the cost of new hearing aid batteries and the frequency of their need for a replacement to be expensive or problematic.
Learning more about the different types of hearing aid batteries, how long they last and what coverage options may be available through Medicare insurance can help you choose a hearing aid that’s right for your needs.
Types of Hearing Aid Batteries
Because hearing aids come in a variety of sizes, batteries are also made with different sizes and voltages. Most manufacturers of different hearing aid brands design their devices to work with a standardized set of battery types. To make identifying these batteries easier for the consumer, they use color-coded indicators in addition to the size.
The following types are the most common sizes and voltages for hearing aid batteries:
- Blue #675. Some cochlear implants and Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids use this size, which is one of the larger types of batteries. This larger size also means a longer lifespan of up to 300 hours.
- Yellow #10. Although their lifespan is shorter, about 80 hours, these are a commonly used battery due to being small enough to fit the In-The-Canal (ITC) and Completely-In-Canal (CIC) style of hearing aids.
- Brown #312. These batteries are also small enough for use with ITC or In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids, but they have a slightly longer lifespan than #10 size batteries. On average, they can last around 175 hours.
- Orange #13. This size can also be used with BTE and ITE hearing aids, but can have an average of 240 hours of use.
Even though batteries have a maximum average lifespan, certain factors can negatively impact how long they last. Before changing batteries, always wash your hands to avoid any grease or dirt getting into the battery cavity and causing damage to the casing. The hearing aid’s contact with the skin can also develop moisture, which can lead to early corrosion for batteries. Allowing hearing aids to air out between uses can reduce this risk.
Original Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aid Batteries
Medicare Part A and Part B, known as Original Medicare, does not cover costs related to hearing aids or the batteries they use. If your physician determines you may be experiencing hearing lost and refers you to an audiologist for testing, then the diagnostic process that evaluates your hearing and what type of hearing aid you may need can qualify for coverage.
Medigap plans that work as a supplement to Original Medicare insurance do not provide extra benefits related to hearing aids or hearing aid batteries. These types of plans may help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to certain co-pays for office visits.
Additional Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aid Batteries
Medicare Advantage Plans are run by private insurance companies who have a contract with Medicare to combine all the benefits of Original Medicare with extra provisions determined by that specific company. Because these third-party companies set the terms for these extra benefits, they can be different from one company to the next.
Many insurers offer additional coverage for hearing exams, and some may offer coverage for the hearing aids themselves. Most hearing aids will come with a set of batteries to start, but replacement batteries may need to be purchased separately.
Some Medicare Advantage Plans offer an over-the-counter allowance that recipients can use to buy non-prescription healthcare and household items, which may include hearing aid batteries.