If you have already met with a physician and/or you are confirmed to have a hearing loss, you may want to jump ahead to the next section.
If you believe you might have a hearing loss but it is not confirmed, you have several options to consider:
In Minnesota, people can buy hearing aids only from professionals who have:
Call (651) 201-3729 (voice) to find out if a hearing instrument dispenser is certified.
Call (651) 201-3729 (voice) to find out if an audiologist is licensed.
Find out if complaints have been made about an audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser by visiting the Better Business Bureau.
Find out if the audiologist or hearing aid dispenser has been disciplined by calling the Department of Health at 651-201-3729 (voice only). You can also get a copy of any disciplinary action that has been taken.
You have the right to a copy of your audiogram. If you had an audiogram to help you select a hearing aid, the audiologist or hearing instrument dispenser must give you a copy of the audiogram when you request it.
You don't have to purchase the hearing aids from the person that tested your hearing. Minnesota law says you can order hearing aids from the person who tested your hearing, from a different audiologist, or from a hearing instrument dispenser.
Have everything said or promised about the hearing aids, warranties, etc, put into the contract.
The law says that you have the right to request that this is done.
If you and the hearing aid seller agree to everything written in the contract, then you should sign your name on the contract. Then the hearing aid seller should also sign his/her name on the same contract. If both of your names are on the same contract, then the hearing aid seller must follow what they wrote in the contract. If they do not follow the contract, they can be sued.
Be sure to read the contract.
Is there anything you do not like about the contract? The law says that if you do not like a contract, you do not need to sign it. You can talk to the person selling the hearing aids. Find out if they will change what you do not like. If not, then think of going to a different seller.
When you pick up your hearing aids the audiologist or the hearing instrument dispenser must give you three things:
You have 45 days on the calendar to try the hearing aids. Three things can happen during the 45 day period.
State law allows the audiologist or hearing instrument to keep up to $250 of the charge for the hearing aid if you cancel the contract and return the hearing aid in the 45 day guarantee period to them.
The $250 is to pay for the time the audiologist or dispenser worked trying to get the hearing aid to work for you. Talk to the hearing instrument dispenser or audiologist; he/she might be okay with giving you all your money back or keeping less than the $250 dollar cancellation fee. Remember, if the audiologist agrees to charge less or nothing at all, have the promise written in the contract.
If you and the person selling you hearing aids agree, you may give him or her your old hearing aids. The dispenser or audiologist may then give you a reduced cost to buy your new hearing aids. (Remember to have this promise written into the contract.) If you decide to cancel the contract within the 45 day period and ask for your old hearing aids back, the hearing aid seller must give your old hearing aids back to you.
The $250 is for every contract. Example: If you bought two hearing aids with one contract then the person who sold the hearing aids can keep only up to $250 if you agreed to it in the contract.
In 2003, the Minnesota legislature passed Minnesota Statute 62Q.675 requiring insurance coverage for children up to age 18. In 2023, the statute was amended to require insurance coverage for hearing aids with no age restrictions. This is for individuals with either Minnesota group health or health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, including plans purchased through MNSURE. Individuals under either a self-insured or Medicare plan are not covered under this law.
If you are not sure what kind of plan you have, check with your insurance provider.
If you do have either a Minnesota group health or HMO plan and your insurance provider declines to cover hearing aids, you have the right to file an appeal. The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division has a helpful document on hearing aid insurance appeals (PDF). (link pending)