Tinnitus is so much more than an annoying buzzing or ringing in your ear. Both acute and chronic tinnitus can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Symptoms can affect your work, mental health, and even your friends and family who support you through your diagnosis and symptoms. It’s natural for a tinnitus patient to want their life and wellbeing back. But the effects of tinnitus on your life aren’t only social or medical. In the United States and around the world, the financial costs of tinnitus treatment are particular pain points for many tinnitus patients.
You don’t start paying for tinnitus treatment as you hand off your copay or get a bill in the mail. Before you can even worry about how you’ll pay for a doctor and the health care they’ll provide, you need to seek out an effective tinnitus treatment in the first place. It’s important to find an audiologist with training and experience in treating tinnitus. Of course, the method of treatment is important, whether it’s tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), another treatment option, or some combination of these.
It’s equally important, if not more so, that your audiologist has a perception of tinnitus as treatable. All too often, medical professionals dismiss tinnitus symptoms as something you learn to live with, only taking the next steps in treating your symptoms when they appear alongside hearing loss or other conditions.
In some cases, you might need to travel quite a distance to find an audiologist who will treat your tinnitus symptoms, much less one who takes your health insurance. You may need to miss work to attend appointments. You might even try a few different doctors before finding the right fit. Each of these steps has an associated cost, even before you meet your audiologist and begin treatment.
The cost of your treatment itself will ultimately depend on a few different factors. Your insurance company, for example, may cover some forms of treatment but not others. Often, treating tinnitus is classified as an elective expense and, as a result, isn’t included in your health coverage. If you’re seeking an affordable way to treat tinnitus, comparing health insurance plans and providers can help you get the best health care at the most accessible cost.
If you suffer from other health conditions as well, be sure to look into the coverage a particular insurance company offers for those, too. You know your diagnoses and medical history best, so spend some time comparing different health insurance providers to find the best fit possible.
The cause of your tinnitus is another detail that has a significant impact on the cost of relieving your tinnitus symptoms. And, by extension, the type of treatment you’re undergoing will have financial effects of its own. Your doctor may offer a variety of tests to pinpoint the issue before treating your tinnitus, with the results dictating your next steps. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition like high blood pressure or even a buildup of earwax is enough to alleviate your symptoms. In other cases, your audiologist may incorporate programs like TRT, CBT, and relaxation techniques to help you find relief. Each type of treatment has its own cost and will be covered differently by your insurance company.
With so many costs associated with tinnitus treatment, it might be tempting to skip it altogether and try to live with the buzzing, humming, or ringing in your ears. But that, too, has a cost—not only will your relationships and mental health suffer, but many tinnitus patients face decreased productivity and lost earnings as a result of tinnitus that’s left untreated. No matter what, tinnitus is going to have costs, monetary and otherwise. For the best quality of life despite your symptoms, seek out an experienced audiologist for an effective treatment plan—and make sure you’re backed by an insurance company who’ll help cover the costs.