COVID-19 Update: With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation. We’ve developed a list of products that caregivers or seniors can purchase to help older adults stay happy, healthy and connected, whether they are aging in place at home or in an assisted living community.

Hearing aids, like most medical expenses, are sometimes tax-deductible, reducing the overall outlay. By deducting the cost of hearing aids from their taxable income, wearers could reduce the cost of their hearing aids by up to 35%. The high cost of hearing aids can mean that millions of Americans avoid buying a hearing device because they can’t afford one, as they can cost several thousand dollars.

How Can I Deduct the Cost of Hearing Aids From My Taxable Income?

Tax deductions and including them in federal tax returns can be confusing. As with most tax-related benefits, there are also caveats to be aware of. 

Medical expenses can only be deducted if the total exceeds 7.5% of the filer’s adjusted gross income, so someone earning $60,000, for example, can deduct medical expenses if the total exceeds $4,500. Those who wish to itemize their deductions should do so on Schedule A (Form 1040) as a medical expense. These deductions can include various medical fees, inpatient hospital care and a variety of medications, to name a few.

The IRS has a handy interactive tool that can help those who are not sure which medical expenses are deductible. 

What Deductions Can I Include?

In addition to hearing aids, it’s possible to include some related hearing-related expenses on a return. These include:

  • Hearing aid batteries, repairs and maintenance costs
  • Accessories that amplify sound and the cost to repair them
  • Equipment that makes it easier to use a phone, such as special ringers, teleprinters and closed caption devices.
  • A hearing dog, including food, veterinary and grooming expenses. 
  • Installing alert systems in the home that are specially designed to assist those with hearing problems, such as doorbells, smoke detectors and burglar alarms. 

Other allowable deductions include the cost of diagnosis and treatment. These may not add up to much on their own, but when combined with the cost of other family medical and dental expenses can be well worth including.  Additionally, it may also be possible to deduct the costs for transportation associated with hearing loss, including taxi, bus and train fares and ambulance rides.

For those who do not use public transportation, out-of-pocket expenses incurred for using a personal vehicle, such as oil, gas and mileage, parking and tolls are also deductible. These items are only applicable if they relate directly to the specific medical expense. It’s important to keep records of all receipts, entries on bank statements and any other records of proof of purchase. 

What Deductions Are Not Applicable?

There are also exceptions to what can be deducted.

  • Portions of care paid for by an employer are not tax deductible by the employee
  • A purchase for a member of a household only counts as a deductible if that individual is a spouse or a dependent

As with any tax questions, it’s usually best to see a tax professional, particularly for more complex cases.