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Why Some Hearing Tests Are Free And Others Are Not

There are several different reasons/situations for booking a diagnostic hearing test at a hearing centre, including (but not limited to):

  • Concerns about your own hearing loss (potential or confirmed)
  • Similar concerns about a loved one (child, spouse, parent, grandparent)
  • Re-evaluating the effectiveness/appropriateness of your current hearing aids
  • As a prerequisite to obtaining certain types of employment or licenses
  • The need of a specially-designed hearing device for personal pursuits
  • A claim under Veterans Affairs Canada (DVA)
  • A Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claim
  • Other employment-related conditions or requirements

In such cases, you will need the services of a hearing loss specialist (an audiologist or a hearing aid specialist) to assess whether hearing aids are required. Very often, a hearing loss specialist is associated or affiliated with a hearing test centre that offers free hearing tests. Although these centres might offer free tests, it is important to note that not all hearing tests are free.

A fee may be incurred when a hearing test is required or requested by a third party:

  • An employer or a potential employer (e.g.: law enforcement, airlines)
  • Certain types of insurance coverage/providers (e.g.: DVA or WSIB)

Pricing for these tests will vary and all or some of the costs may not be reimbursable or recoverable.

Similarly, charges could be applied (quite likely non-reimbursable) when a hearing test is conducted in relation to special or personal reasons, such as:

  • Participating in sports
  • Noise reduction or dampening when in public or open spaces
  • Sound enhancement when attending live entertainment venues, etc.

Therefore, it would be wise to investigate any terms and conditions or limitations before booking your ‘free’ hearing test.

What Is The Difference Between A Hearing Test And A Hearing Screening?

It is also important to differentiate a free hearing test from a free hearing screening:

  • Hearing Test – A diagnostic assessment conducted by an audiologist or a hearing loss specialist to determine whether hearing aids or medical treatment will be the best option – as discussed above, this test may or may not be free or reimbursable
  • Hearing Screening – Essentially only determines whether a diagnostic hearing test is needed – often offered at health fairs or residences for seniors and it is always free

This is a key distinction to keep in mind when you are looking to book a hearing test.

The Cost Of A ‘Free’ Hearing Test May Be Built Into The Price Of Your Hearing Aid

When hearing test centres offer free hearing tests, which can often require one hour to complete, there are still some costs involved in terms of staff salaries, administration and overhead, and operation of the equipment. One way that a test centre can recover these costs is to offer a comprehensive package or `bundle’ that includes the following appointments or services not typically covered by insurance plans:

  • A hearing aid evaluation appointment
  • The hearing aids
  • A fitting and training session
  • Hearing aid follow-up evaluations
  • Adjustments, cleanings, repairs

Since this package/bundle is presented as a single, all-encompassing price, it may cloud the actual costs of each individual appointment or service and allow the costs associated with the ‘free’ hearing test to be included (hidden or spread throughout) and therefore ultimately recovered.

In some cases, a hearing test centre may actually absorb the cost of its hearing tests as part of a marketing strategy to attract new clients.

When buying a hearing aid, it will be important to assess the total cost of the purchase. If a comprehensive bundle is offered or recommended, it may be worthwhile to look at how frequently you might use any or all of its components and weigh that cost against a pay-as-you-go payment method (if available from the provider).

Are you looking for a hearing test centre that combines state-of-the-art technology with a personal touch? Call Bravo Hearing Centre today at 416-207-9711 to speak with a hearing loss specialist and book your hearing test now!

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