Ear Plugs: FSA Eligibility

Ear Plugs: requires a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) to be eligible with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA)
Ear plugs may be eligible for reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Ear plugs reimbursement are not eligible with a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What are ear plugs?

Ear plugs are small devices that mold to the inside of an individual's ear to form a seal that will prevent the entry of dust, water and other particulates from entering the inner ear. Ear plugs are also often used by those who wish to prevent hearing damage due to loud noises, or by those who require sound deadening to fall asleep each night. These products are available over-the-counter, but wearers can also consider pre-made ear plugs that are molded to the shape of the user's inner and outer ear to form a tighter seal (Everyday Hearing).

Today's modern, moldable silicone ear plugs were invented by Ray and Cecilia Benner in 1962. Benner, a classical musician, bought McKeon Products in 1962 whose sole product were earplugs made from moldable clay. The Benners developed a major breakthrough in the design of ear plugs when they opted for silicone as the primary material, which is not only easy to mold but is waterproof. The plugs were marketed to help prevent swimmer's ear by preventing the amount of water that could penetrate to the inner ear, as well as for their superior sound deadening qualities.

Water Protection and Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

Ear plugs are primarily made for one of two purposes: noise reduction and protection from water. Individuals who are looking for water protection should seek out ear plugs that are made of silicone or custom molded variants that won't retain water while still preventing water from penetrating the inner ear. However, ear plugs that are worn for noise reduction can be made with varying materials, but buyers should be aware of the ear plugs' Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).

A products' NRR is the decibel (dB) reduction provided by hearing protection based on laboratory test data, with higher NRR ratings offering greater potential for noise reduction. For instance, if you are working in an environment that has a sound level of 100 dB and you're wearing earplugs that are rated NR 30, the total noise exposure penetrating the ears is 70 dB. In general, excessive noise is known as exposure to 85 decibels or more for an 8-hour period or more, and this can be dramatically lessened through NRR ear plugs (BIZFLUENT.com).

How do I obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) for ear plugs?

An LMN from a doctor for ear plugs is required for reimbursement with most benefits providers to ensure that it is necessary for the treatment of a medical condition. This letter must outline how an account holder's medical condition necessitates the purchase of ear plugs, how these items will be used to alleviate the issue and how long the treatment will last. If additional treatment will be required outside of the current plan year, another LMN must be submitted to cover the duration of the product's use.