Hearing loss can be a frustrating and isolating experience. Hearing aids can provide a solution to this problem, but purchasing them can be a daunting task as the costs are extensive. One factor to consider is the pricing options available that are at audiology practices. Two of the most common options are bundled and unbundled pricing.
What is bundled pricing?
Bundled pricing is when the cost of the hearing aids includes several services. These services may include follow-up visits with an audiologist, cleaning, programming adjustments, and repairs. This type of pricing can offer potential cost savings, as these services are included in the initial cost and you can return to the as many times as needed in the warranty period.
Many audiology clinics prefer this option so that patients do not feel ‘nickeled and dimed’ any time their hearing aid had a problem. Almost all clinics did have this pricing method prior to trying to compete with internet prices on hearing aids.
What is unbundled pricing?
Unbundled pricing is when the cost of the hearing aids only includes the initial fitting appointment and a 2-year repair warranty. This option does not include the cost of professional cleaning of the hearing aids or any programming adjustments for the hearing aids. This is the price you get when buying hearing aids online through a service like ZipHearing or Hear-better.com.
Pros and Cons of Bundle Pricing
Pros of Bundle Pricing
- Included follow-up visits with an audiologist: With bundle pricing, you can typically expect to receive several follow-up visits with an audiologist, who can help you with any issues or concerns you may have. This can be especially beneficial if you are new to hearing aids or if you experience changes in your hearing over time. These visits are typically included in the initial cost of the hearing aids, which can offer significant cost savings over time.
- Cost savings on cleaning and adjustments: Bundle pricing typically includes the cost of professional cleaning and any necessary programming adjustments. These services can be expensive when paid for separately, so bundling them into the initial cost can result in significant cost savings over time.
Cons of Bundle Pricing
- Higher upfront cost: Bundle pricing typically comes with a higher upfront cost than unbundled pricing. This can be a significant drawback for those on a tight budget or those who are not sure if they want to commit to hearing aids long-term.
- Limited choice of hearing aids and providers: When you choose bundle pricing, you may be limited in your choice of hearing aids and providers. This can be a disadvantage if you have specific needs or preferences that are not met by the available options.
- If You Plan On Moving: Your prepaid service is only at the clinic where you purchased the hearing aids. If you move or go out of town, you must then pay for a different clinic to adjust/repair the hearing aids.
Pros and Cons of Unbundled Pricing
Pros of Unbundled Pricing
- Lower upfront cost: Unbundled pricing typically comes with a lower upfront cost than bundle pricing. This can be beneficial for those on a tight budget or those who are not sure if they want to commit to hearing aids long-term.
- More choices of hearing aids and providers: With unbundled pricing, you may have more choices when it comes to hearing aids and providers. This can be beneficial if you have specific needs or preferences that are not met by the available options.
- Easy to compare online vs in-store prices: Compare pricing directly across any site. I prefer to recommend professional hearing aids through ZipHearing as I found them to be low-pressure sales.
Cons of Unbundled Pricing
- Additional costs for cleaning and adjustments: With unbundled pricing, you will need to pay for any necessary cleaning and programming adjustments separately. This can be more expensive in the long run than bundle pricing, which includes these services in the initial cost. It also encourages people to not get their hearing aids adjusted as often which may result in poorer performance from the hearing aids.
- No included follow-up visits with an audiologist: With unbundled pricing, you typically won’t receive any follow-up visits with an audiologist. This can be a disadvantage if you are new to hearing aids or if you experience changes in your hearing over time.
Factors to consider when choosing pricing option
When deciding between bundle and unbundled pricing, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences. Some factors to consider include:
- The severity of hearing loss: If you have severe hearing loss, you may need more support and services than if you have mild hearing loss.
- Desired level of service and support: Do you want to have regular follow-up visits with an audiologist, or are you comfortable with less support and guidance?
- Budget: How much can you afford to spend upfront, and how much can you afford to spend on maintenance and repairs over time? See my breakdown of the long-term expected cost of hearing aids bundled vs unbundled vs OTC hearing aids.
Ultimately, the decision between bundle and unbundled pricing comes down to individual preferences and needs. It’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option, as well as your own priorities, before making a decision. No matter which option you choose, investing in hearing aids can greatly improve your quality of life.