A few weeks ago, HearUSA rolled out a slick rebrand and announced new concept stores meant to bring hearing health into the mainstream. The hearing retailer is owned by audiology giant WS Audiology and has over 350 locations throughout the U.S.
Despite the national footprint, I hadn't spent much time researching HearUSA, and given the brand's new positioning, I wanted to learn more. So I sifted through customer reviews, called my local clinic and even got in touch with the corporate team.
In this guide, I'll break down the HearUSA history, process, prices, and pros and cons.
Let's get into it!
HearUSA started in 1987 and is often associated with bringing hearing health to retail in the U.S. The brand steadily built a strong reputation and footprint until the early 2010s, when it ran into financial trouble and was ultimately purchased by the hearing health giant Sivantos, which would later merge to become WS Audiology. Over the last decade, WS Audiology has strengthened the HearUSA offering and brand.
Today the brand is headquartered in Florida and has more than 4,000 employees across 360 hearing centers nationwide. Each hearing center is fully owned by HearUSA vs. operating on a franchise model (i.e., retail competitor Beltone).
One important note (we'll discuss this more below) is that HearUSA primarily offers WSA products to their customers (Signia, Widex). The good news is that WSA has a strong and diverse lineup of products.
How HearUSA Works
The process at HearUSA is a lot like other hearing retailers, with a few distinctions.
Step 1: Find a nearby location.
Use the HearUSA website to find a location nearby. You can call your local clinic or book time online. Note that HearUSA offers remote fittings and services for patients who cannot physically come to a clinic. Access to remote service varies by state, so it is best to give HearUSA a call to confirm.
Step 2: Test your hearing.
The HearUSA team will perform a full hearing test to establish your specific hearing needs. This hearing test will inform the hearing aids available to you and how they are programmed. HearUSA has a simple screener on its website, but most tests will take place inside their clinic.
Step 3: Live trial multiple hearing aids.
One thing that makes HearUSA unique is its commitment to in-clinic try-on. Many audiologists don't offer patients the ability to try on multiple products, and HearUSA gives every patient the option to try multiple styles and technology levels. That can be useful as you consider aesthetics, comfort, and sound quality.
Step 4: Select a hearing aid and begin your at-home trial.
Most audiologists dedicate the first appointment to testing your hearing and advising you on available products. The audiologist then orders the product and brings you back a week or two later for a "fitting."
HearUSA accelerates the process through what they call the "Test, Advise, Fit and Go" service. At HearUSA, you can walk out with hearing aids on the same day.
All products come with a 30-day return policy.
HearUSA does not publish prices for their hearing aids at this time, but some internet sleuthing led me to this page which shows "sample savings," which might be indicative of what you could expect to pay locally.
The HearUSA page lists prices by single hearing aid, so I've converted that price to pairs below.
Basic Digital Hearing Aids - $2,538
Value Digital Hearing Aids - $3,150
Mid Level Digital Hearing Aids - $3,886
Advanced Digital Hearing Aids - $5,600
Premium Digital Hearing Aids - $8,400
Note: The national average cost for a pair of hearing aids across all retailers is $4,500
HearUSA Insurance Services
To offset the cost of their services, HearUSA is one of the most thorough retailers in seeking and helping you take advantage of insurance benefits.
At the time of this writing, HearUSA partners with more health insurance plans than any other hearing care provider, and their hearing center teams help manage the process.
Does HearUSA have a partnership with AARP?
HearUSA historically managed the AARP hearing program as an integrated partner. That partnership is no longer active, but the two brands continue to work together on a smaller scale.
I asked the HearUSA team for more clarity and this is what they provided:
"While we no longer manage AARP's hearing program, we are a participating provider in their new program so both current and new clients can enjoy Simply Excellent Hearing Care at all HearUSA locations and maximize their benefits."
HearUSA is owned by WS Audiology, which is best known for the hearing brands Widex and Signia. While HearUSA does not publicly say that they only sell WSA products, it is clear from their product page that Signia and Widex are the focus.
So are Widex, and Signia hearing aids good? Simply, yes.
Widex is best known for its fast sound processing, improving sound quality, and winning music lovers. Read more here.
Signia is a leader in rechargeable products and has two innovative in-the-ear styles. Read more here.
Will HearUSA offer OTC hearing aids?
I couldn't find an answer to this question, so I contacted HearUSA directly to ask. HearUSA confirmed that they plan to offer OTC products from Sony starting in 2023.
Many customers worry about the lack of customer service available with OTC hearing aids, and HearUSA might be a welcome hybrid solution that blends local care with better OTC prices.
Will HearUSA repair and update another manufacturer's hearing aids?
The HearUSA team confirmed that their team has programs to handle most major manufacturers.
Over time, you can bet that HearUSA will offer to upgrade you to one of their house brands.
HearUSA Concept Stores Coming Soon
In addition to the new HearUSA brand, the company plans to roll out a series of concept stores they hope will create a new model of hearing care. The first location will come to Florida with more to come over the next few years.
According to the brand, the first new center will feature a "Sound Studio" where clients can experience an immersive audio and visual environment that truly replicates the unique hearing enhancements they will experience with HearUSA's industry-leading hearing solutions.
The centers are intended to reframe how clients learn about, experience, and purchase hearing aids by enabling them to experience sound in the way that works best for them.
HearUSA is a solid option if you have a location in your area. They don't offer the lowest prices on the market but are the leader in accessing insurance coverage.
If you often travel and want access to hearing care in multiple cities, HearUSA could be a great option. Customers can work with HearUSA locations across the country.