With so many ads for hearing aids, how do I know I’m getting my money’s worth?

As the market for hearing technology expands, finding the right provider and the right hearing aid can quickly become overwhelming. While many advertisements sound appealing at first, some are misleading and do not live up to their promises.

One mission of the UNC HCC is to provide affordable, high-value hearing technology without compromising the quality of service. Our unbundled (itemized) pricing structure is nationally recognized and ensures that patients only pay for what they need. We are also constantly exploring newly developed technology to lower costs. No matter your budget, our audiologists will help you determine what type of technology is best suited for your hearing and communication needs. Our audiologists also do not work on commission and will only recommend what is best for the patient.

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Bundled or Unbundled?

Bundled (Classic Model) Unbundled (HCC Model)
Hearing Aid Cost Starting cost includes hearing aid price, professional fitting fee; and cost of future appointments, repairs, service, and parts. Length and terms of service package determined by provider. Increases starting cost significantly as the hearing aid mark up is entirely based on the estimated cost of future services. Cost only includes itemized hearing aid price and professional fitting fee. Lowers starting cost. 
Mobility of service “Pre-paid” services are limited to the dispensing clinic. Service plan does not roll over should patient change provider. Services can be provided by any audiologist as they have not been “pre-paid.” Conducive for traveling.
Cost of routine maintenance Maintenance costs usually included in starting cost of original purchase, dependent on terms of service plan. Maintenance costs only charged at time of service. Patient pays when services are provided. 
Rationale One-time fee for hearing aids and future services. Transparent billing and lower costs over time. Fee-for-service billing allows the patient to know the value of each provided service. 

The itemized model is endorsed by the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

None of our Audiologists work on commission. We are diligent to adhere to UNC Healthcare’s policies regarding vendor/manufacturer relations. Hearing healthcare should always be free of influence or provider incentives.

Am I a Patient or a Consumer?

Context matters when choosing a hearing healthcare setting. Unfortunately in many cases, hearing aids are sold as a consumer product in a retail setting. One can expect a sales focus in a retail setting, as the hearing aids become the number one commodity. Hearing loss is a medical condition and given the many known risk factors of untreated hearing loss, it should be treated by a healthcare provider. A Doctor of Audiology is the only healthcare professional who specializes in hearing and balance. By pursing care from one of our Audiologists, you can rest assured that your hearing care is being considered in the larger context of your health. We know that hearing aids are one of many tools within a larger treatment plan. Better communication must involve more than just your ears!