If you want electronic ear plugs that do the same thing as Shooters' earmuff, be prepared to spend a bit more money than $50 to $100. Still, to get a pair of custom molded ear plugs made, it'll only will cost you between $100 to $200, and that's just for simple ear plugs. You add in the electronics and the price will go up a bit (around $50 to $500 depending on what you're getting). Hearing aids aren't much different than these "off-the-shelf" ear plugs, they're just a bit more sophisticated since they can be tuned by a audiologist to address each individual person's needs.
I had a set of custom ear plugs made a couple years ago at a motorcycle shoe and each pair was $55. Quite the bargain. Just recently, I had another set of custom ear plugs made that come with Noise Brakers
and those set me back $120 or so directly from manufacturer (they're local to me, so I just stopped by their building).
Do I think hearing aids actually cost $2000 a pair? Absolutely not. So why are they so expensive then? I believe it's due to a serious lack of competition. Most people who get hearing aids are probably getting them through their insurance company or the VA, so costs are a minimal concern to them as they only have to pay their co-pay or deductible. But if you want to buy them direct yourself, the prices are outrageous and most people will just forgo them and suffer in silence. On a whim about a month ago, I went to a Sonus Hearing store and asked how much they charge for earplugs and they wanted $150 just for the impressions! Plus, I would still have to pay whatever the cost was to have the actual earplugs made. Who do they charge so much? Because they can.