Many insurance companies will cover the costs for the audiological tests necessary to be prescribed hearing aids. They do not often cover the actual cost for hearing aids, which can be easily between $3,000 and $4,000 per pair. This makes them very inaccessible for a large chunk of the population.
When you have paid so much for your hearing aids, it is very demoralizing to just throw them away. There are a number of different locations at which you can donate your old hearing aids, no matter how poor of a condition that they are in.
ITE v BTE Style Hearing Aids
There are 2 main styles of hearing aids, and they are classified according to how they fit your body. ITE stands for in the ear, and BTE for behind the ear.
ITE hearing aids are designed to custom specifications, meaning that the fit is personalized to your ear. This extends to the part that fits inside your ear canal – a body part that is unique to every person. This means that ITE hearing aids cannot be repurposed for another individual without having the custom outer shell remake. This is not always possible to achieve and often incurs quite a cost.
BTE hearing aids are designed to fit to the wearer’s ear using standard ear domes or custom earmolds. The custom ear molds cannot be repurposed for another person, although the hearing aid itself can be reused. It will need to be reprogrammed by a special auditory practitioner before being repurposed, to ensure it is set up to the new user’s needs.
These can then be paired with some new custom earmolds or tips to reuse the mechanisms. You should always visit a hearing clinic if you are trying to reuse old hearing aids.
Donating your hearing aids is a great way to give them a new lease of life. We all know that garbage heaps and landfills are rapidly filling up and that the world has a problem with throwing things away, so any time that we can reduce our waste we should.
Donation can also help to subsidize the costs of care, making medical treatment more accessible for everyone. Some people do not have insurance or cannot afford to purchase a new hearing aid. These people will rely on donations for their medical care and will not be able to hear otherwise.
The used hearing aids are refurbished and passed on to new recipients. Alternatively, donated hearing aids can be sent to manufacturers who give monetary credit in return for parts. This then allows the charities to subsidize the cost of new hearing aids for those who can’t afford them.
This charity will refurbish your old hearing aids and pass them on to those in need. Donations should be placed in a rigid, protective wrapping such as a case or small box. They should then be mailed to their office at 115 West 27th Street, 8th floor, New York, New York, 10001.
When posting your hearing aid you should include a slip of paper with your name, mailing address, and email address written on it.
Hearing Aid Project
To donate to the Hearing Aid Project you will need to visit their website and fill out the online form. Once completed, you will be shown a list of local drop-off centers or a mailing address to send the hearing aid to. The Hearing Aid Project will take hearing aids of all ages and conditions.
Hearing Charities of America
This organization will take any used hearing aid for refurbishment and redistribution. To donate your hearing aids to this charity, wrap them in protective packaging. Post the hearing aids to 1912 East Meyer Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64132.
Lions Club International
To donate your hearing aids to the Lions Club you will need to wrap them carefully and place them inside a collection container. These are found in a number of locations within the community, such as libraries, senior centers, audiologist offices, optometrist offices, and village administrative centers. You can also visit www.lionsclub.org to find your closest Lions Hearing Aid Recycling Center to send your hearing aids to.
Other in-person locations
You can also often drop off your used hearing aids at a number of community locations. These include all of the places listed above.
The VA (Veterans Affairs) will sometimes accept donations of old hearing aids. The organization gives veterans enrolled in the healthcare system audiologist diagnostics. They will be able to repurpose your old hearing aid for a veteran in need.
Used batteries should be recycled according to local waste management policies. Unused batteries can commonly be donated along with your used hearing aids. If you are unsure, we recommend contacting the intended charity and asking specifically. If you still have unused batteries left over, you can donate them to your local audiologist’s office.
How can I tell if used hearing aids are right for me?
You should visit a hearing care specialist for a complete hearing evaluation, and bring the new hearing aid along with you. The audiologist will run a number of tests to evaluate your hearing ability and then move on to the hearing aid.
They will run a series of electroacoustic tests which will tell them the required amplification and programming capabilities of your new hearing aids. This will let them know whether the hearing aids are appropriate for your type and severity of hearing loss.
The hearing aids will then undergo a more complete set of tests and inspections to ascertain the quality of their functioning. After this point, they may be sent for repair or reconditioning. This may well be covered by the initial warranty, but it is recommended that you purchase an extended warranty to protect you in the event of loss or damage.
The audiologist will then program the hearing aids to your specific needs and they will fit them to your ear. While donated hearing aids may be free, you should expect to pay fees for the audiologist’s time.