Hearing loss can affect a senior’s physical health and mental well-being. It can cause physical discomfort or pain and can put you at risk for injuries or falls. It can have an equally impactful effect on a senior’s emotional state. Seniors are already vulnerable to feelings of isolation, but losing one’s hearing can contribute to depression and anxiety. If you start to notice a consistent change in your hearing ability or experience sudden hearing loss, talk to your physician as soon as possible.

Hearing Exams and Screenings

Medicare Part B will cover the cost of diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your physician considers them necessary to see if you need medical treatment. You would pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies. If your exams take place in a hospital outpatient setting, you may be responsible for a copayment.

 What causes hearing loss?

Age alone is not the main contributor to a loss of hearing. Instead, it can be caused by loud noises that damage the inner ear, earwax or fluid buildup, injury (such as a punctured eardrum), or other medical conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, or a brain injury. Ototoxic medications, such as some antibiotics, can also cause permanent hearing issues. If you notice any changes in your hearing, make an appointment with your primary physician. Once the cause of your hearing loss has been determined, you and your physician can discuss treatment options, which may include hearing aids.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are more advanced than ever before, and there are a variety on the market. They can vary in size, style, where they are placed in your ear, and can include special features such as noise reduction, variable programming, wireless connectivity, and directional microphones. Price can vary but hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids or fittings for hearing aids. You would have to pay for them completely out-of-pocket.

Even though Original Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, many Medicare recipients choose to receive their benefits through a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and are required to provide the same Part A and Part B coverage as Original Medicare, but many MA plans provide additional coverage, such as routine hearing exams and hearing aids. Check with your plan to find your exact costs.

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