Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids for People Who Want the Best Solution
On August 16th, 2022, the FDA finalized their ruling on Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids, following President Biden’s Executive Order.
There has been a lot of media hype surrounding this news, with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declaring that it is a “significant milestone in making hearing aids more cost-effective and accessible”
However, if you or a loved one is very new to your/their hearing loss journey, you might have some questions about what this all means for you.
Let us help you with that…
What Are Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids?
OTC hearing aids are relatively uncomplicated bits of hearing aid technology that have been designed to simply amplify sound, not actually improve the health of your hearing.
They’re different to prescribed hearing aids that are molded and programmed to suit your exact hearing loss needs, as, similar to earphones, they’re a ‘one-size-fits-all’ concept, with limited adjust functions, which makes them a much cheaper alternative.
You don’t need a hearing test to buy OTC devices, and, in many cases, there are very few questions asked before you’re free to choose which one you want.
Who Are Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids For?
Over-the-counter hearing aids will be for adults over the age of 18 who have a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. They might struggle to hear in certain environments and could benefit from some basic help/amplification.
They’re not a replacement for prescriptive hearing aids, but are instead a solution for mild-to-moderate cases that require situational use for inactive lifestyles.
The Serious Concerns of Audiologists & Hearing Care Specialists Across the USA
Although there are indeed many good things that will come out of the legislation of over-the-counter hearing aids, there is still one element of the new ruling that we, as the professional hearing care community, must speak up against, which is the danger of NOT getting a hearing test done prior to purchasing OTC devices.
It really is in everyone’s best interests to at least have a hearing test before parting with a lot of money, as it’s the only way you’ll know for sure what level of hearing loss you have and whether an OTC device is good enough for your specific needs.
In addition to this, we’re concerned about the phrasing the FDA has used, which is that over-the-counter hearing aids are for people with “perceived” mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
As hearing loss often happens slowly and gradually, it’s almost impossible to know what level of hearing loss that you have until you have a hearing evaluation.
Oftentimes we have people who come to see us who believe they have a mild hearing loss, only to discover that they have a severe hearing loss that requires immediate attention.
This makes us concerned because since a hearing test isn’t required in order to purchase over-the-counter hearing aids, it might encourage people to unknowingly mask a problem by applying a band-aid to a potential more serious hearing loss challenge, which would otherwise have been picked up on in a hearing test.
Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids Done Safely – Our Professional Approach to OTC
Your safety and long-term success with hearing aids is our number one priority, something that OTC hearing aids simply cannot guarantee. In some instances, over-the-counter hearing aids will be the correct solution for some people, or, in other instances, they may be the entirely wrong solution.
That’s why we’ve put hearing healthcare at the forefront to ensure you’re making the best possible decision.
Our 3-Step Approach to Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids
#1 – Comprehensive Hearing Evaluation
The first step is to have your hearing comprehensively tested to analyze your overall hearing health, review if you have any form of hearing loss, and to understand what your treatment options look like.
We may discover that you’re a perfect candidate for over-the-counter hearing aids, or we may discover that they would cause more harm than good.
However, this important first step ensures that you’re making the best possible decision for your long-term hearing health.
#2 – Review Your Options
Based on the outcome of your hearing evaluation, we’ll be able to make recommendations to suit your exact needs.
If you’re a candidate for over-the-counter hearing aids, then we’ll introduce you to an array of the most popular and highest-rated solutions and support you in making the best possible decision.
#3 – Professionally Fitted Rather than Self-Fitted
Our doctors will then professionally fit your over-the-counter hearing aids rather than you having to follow the self-fitting instructions.
This will ensure they fit your ears, are correctly tailored for your needs, and are connected to your cell phone with full instructions.
How We Can Help
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