hearing protection and insurance

Most folks don’t realize that their health insurance can often be used to help cover the investment of premium shooting hearing protection. It’s not guaranteed since this is ultimately between you and your insurance provider, but it’s essential to understand how and when you can maximize any available benefits.

Long story short, earplugs may be eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). They are not eligible for a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

Why is Hearing Protection FSA/HSA Eligible?

Hearing loss prevention is critical to healthcare, especially in environments where noise exposure is expected and prevalent. The IRS recognizes the importance of maintaining and safeguarding one’s health, which includes hearing health. Therefore, expenses related to preserving or improving one’s hearing health, including premium ear protection, are often considered eligible for reimbursement. The same goes for eye protection as well.

Obtaining a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN)

The key to the entire thing is to have a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from your doctor or audiologist. The LMN acts as documentation to supplement your reimbursement claim, stating that purchasing premium ear protection is medically necessary for your health.

Process of Obtaining Reimbursement

1. Consult your insurance plan: Review your plan documents or contact your plan administrator to confirm eligibility criteria for hearing protection expenses. While most plans cover these expenses, clarifying any specific requirements or limitations doesn’t hurt.

2. Obtain your LMN: This is usually pretty straightforward and involves scheduling a consultation (in-person or via telehealth) with your doctor to discuss your exposure to gunfire and why you’re asking for the LMN. A best practice here is not to be coy or beat around the bush. Just be candid about why you’re asking: you’re around gunfire often and don’t want to go deaf. (When you’re calling to book your visit, explain why — that might be enough, and you can bypass the in-person visit altogether.) While we can’t provide a template here, your provider can do this in their sleep and will ensure that the LMN meets your insurance company’s requirements.

3. Purchase your ear pro: Pick the shooting ear protection that meets your needs and preferences, whether that’s earmuffs, earplugs or custom-molded options. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the metric used for protection against gunfire, and each set of ear protection will have an NRR rating. You want the highest number you can, and most ear pro designed for shooting is around 23-27 NRR. Keep your receipts!

  • Important note: Purchase using your regular card, then submit for reimbursement. It’s advisable not to pay using your health care card directly if you have that option for two reasons: it’ll bypass the opportunity to submit the LMN with your claim, and it makes returns/refunds complicated. 

4. Keep your receipts and don’t open the box: You’ll need your receipt to submit your claim for reimbursement. You should be prepared if your insurance company denies your claim, in which case you may decide to return the product. If you buy from us, you’re covered on this end. Ready-to-rip products like Sordin Supreme Pro-X can be returned if the box is unopened and unused. Custom-fit products can be refunded before they’re made (i.e., buy, submit, wait for insurance approval, then go ahead and get your ear molds made).

5. Submit your reimbursement claim: Once you’ve purchased your ear pro from us and obtained the LMN, submit a reimbursement claim to your FSA/HSA administrator, following whatever the usual instructions are as provided by your plan administrator. Include copies of both the receipt for the ear protection and the LMN documentation. Claims are usually processed within a week or two, but just be patient here and wait before cracking the box open. (And if it’s any consolation, it’s way faster than waiting for the feds to approve your suppressor!)