Over the counter (OTC) hearing aids are poised to shake up the hearing aid industry.
In 2017, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act passed and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working to create regulations regarding this new category of hearing device. These hearing aids are expected to bring down the price and hassle of acquiring hearing aids and are garnering much consumer attention.
The hope is that OTC hearing aids will offer technology that will meet the expectations of consumers who seek low-cost, accessible devices. Affordability is very important, but you still need to be an educated consumer.
If you are considering purchasing a device that claims to be in this new category, you should know:
There still needs to be a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) issued by the FDA
The NPRM will be followed by an open comment period
Then the final rules will be established
With all of that in mind, you still need to learn all you can about the device before making your purchase.
The Role of Hearing Evaluations (Hearing Tests)
Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate; it can affect children and adults alike, which is why a formal hearing evaluation is so important to identify type of hearing loss before assuming what kind of device to use.
Participating in a hearing evaluation is easy and completely painless. We’ll gain a better understanding of the volumes and frequencies you can hear as well as how well you understand the speech of others. If you do have hearing loss, it’s our goal to provide you with comprehensive information so that you can decide which course of treatment is right for you. You can learn more about hearing evaluations on our website.
Hearing problems can only be correctly treated when they’ve been accurately evaluated and diagnosed. Choosing an audiologist to care for your hearing means that you’re choosing a professional with the most extensive education in hearing conditions and the proper treatment and management of them.
Our audiologists are committed to the ethical guidelines of their profession and never try to “sell” to our patients, but instead aim to educate them on their situation and best options for their hearing health.
While there is optimism that OTC hearing aids could provide a cost-effective solution for many with mild to moderate hearing loss, not all those diagnosed are open to the idea. Recent surveys indicate that while many recognize the potential benefit of a lower up-front cost, they are also quick to point out that the price tag could mean sacrificing important benefits.
When OTC hearing aids become available, you need to ask yourself some crucial questions before deciding on how you want to proceed:
Are you purchasing the right hearing aid for you? Does it address your specific type of hearing loss? Can it be easily adjusted by your and fitted for you? If you have any mechanical problems with it, where will you take it for repair?
The bottom line: Consider your needs, your situation and total investment. Work with a hearing healthcare provider to get more information or to schedule a hearing evaluation and discuss options. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!