Buying Hearing Assistive Devices

Riderwood Resources

  • Riderwood Medical Center: The Medical Center staff will put residents in touch with an outside provider of audiology services. An audiologist is available through the Medical Center.
  • Resident Life provides information to residents wishing to learn more about resources for low hearing.
  • See also Telephones – Closed Captions, for free phones that provide closed captions for incoming calls.
  • Riderwood – Living Well with an Assist
  • Assistive Technology and Adaptive Devices – Riderwood Presentations on Living Well with an Assist – a three part video series, one to and-one-half hours each. Presented at Riderwood, October, 2021.

Paying for Hearing Aids


Residents who are veterans and who are eligible for VA benefits should look into obtaining hear aids through the VA.(VA Washington DC health care / Location)

  • Audiologists evaluate hearing loss and, if hearing aids are needed, they may be provided free of charge, a very valuable benefit.
  • A trial period can be used to try out new aids.
  • Periodic hearing tests are conducted and adjustments made if needed.
  • Aids may be replaced periodically.
  • Where: One resident uses the services of the audiology department at the VA hospital in Washington, DC.
    • There is a walk-in clinic in Gaithersburg where parking and other access is better than downtown DC.
      • As of this writing (Aug, 2022), hearing tests are not available at the Gaithersburg facility due to lack of a hearing test booth and equipment.
      • Other locations for VA audiological services:
      • Camp Springs VA – Southern Prince George’s County VA Clinic
    • Baltimore VA Medical Center: (Faciity map)
    • Walter Reed, Bethesda has an Audiology and Speech Pathology Center. We do not have experience with this facility. In past years, obtaining a hearing aid through the VA advantageous because no cost share was involved.


  • Many insurance plans provide coverage for the services of an audiologist.
  • Co-pays are commonly involved.
  • MEDICARE does not cover costs of audiological services and hearing aids. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offer extra benefits that “Original Medicare” does not offer. Review details of coverage to learn more about coverage.

Riderwood – Living Well with an Assist

Hearing Aids – Where to Buy

  • Residents have found good value at Costco which has a store nearby in Beltsville on route US-1 (Baltimore Ave.).
  • Costco membership required.
  • Hearing tests are administered to “. . . determine if your hearing loss may be helped by hearing aids.”
  • Read about their services at Costco Hearing Aids. Others obtain them with the advice of their audiologists.

Audiologist Clifford Olson discusses differences in quality of “tuning” of hearing aids at COSTCO See his video. At COSTCO,

FDA’s New Rule: Over-the-counter Hearing Aids

  • In August, 2022, the FDA announced a new rule allowing for over-the-counter (OTC) sale of hearing aids.
  • It is expected that this will make aids more available, thereby lowering costs.
  • A Press Release carries is entitled,, “FDA Finalizes Historic Rule Enabling Access to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids for Millions of Americans,” and indicates that “More Affordable Hearing Aids Could Be in Stores as Soon as Mid-October.”
  • The pres release details the implications of the new rule, including an expectation of lower costs [because buyers would not need to have aids prescribed by an audiologist].
  • Caveat: “The OTC category established in this final rule applies to certain air-conduction hearing aids intended for people 18 years of age and older who have perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment. Hearing aids that do not meet the requirements for the OTC category (for example, because they are intended for severe hearing impairment or users younger than age 18) are prescription devices.”
    • In parallel, the FDA also issued a guidance document regarding standards for hearing aids, “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff.”
    • The guidance is available in the Federal Register.

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