I want to buy OTC Hearing Aids to save on cost, but what if I want to have a hearing test? Does Medicare cover the hearing test?
Medicare covers audiologic diagnostic testing provided by an audiologist when a physician or non-physician practitioner (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or physician’s assistant) orders the evaluation for the purpose of informing the physician’s diagnostic medical evaluation or determining appropriate medical or surgical treatment of a hearing deficit or related medical problem.
What this means is if you want to have an exam done by an Audiologist and have Medicare cover the cost of the hearing test, you must request a referral from your doctor. However, there are other ways to acquire a hearing test. Many hearing aid businesses will conduct a free hearing test in hopes of your purchasing aids with them. Some companies will allow for you to have a free copy of your test. Other providers may review the results with you, but may not be willing to give you a copy of the actual scores. Regardless, if your purpose is just to know what kind of loss you have, this should not be a concern.
Free hearing screenings are often available at health fairs and other organized senior citizen affiliated events. Screenings are not as thorough as a test but can give you the range of your hearing loss. Check with your local Agency on Aging, or senior citizen referral agencies. Another option is reaching out to schools of Audiology. Many colleges that have an Audiology curriculum will conduct free testing to allow students to practice.
If you are concerned that your hearing loss may be due to your ears being plugged with wax, you can make an appointment with your primary physician. If you have impacted ears, Medicare does cover the cost for ear wax removal by your doctor. If you see an Audiologist, they will check your ears first before proceeding with a hearing test. They also have the ability to clean out ear wax.
For individuals with mild- to- moderate hearing loss, it is not necessary to have a hearing test for Over the Counter Hearing Aids to be effective. Yet, if you want to have Medicare and want to move forward with a covered hearing test, there are many ways to achieve it and still benefit from the cost savings of OTC Hearing Aids.
References: American Speech-Language Hearing Association, www.asha.org