OTC Hearing Aids
Choosing your hearing healthcare provider is an important decision. 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.
- Have an advanced degree in audiology (either a master’s or Doctorate degree)
- Complete rigorous training and testing in order to become licensed to practice
- Specialize in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of hearing and balance disorders
- Licensing by their state Board. Once licensed, they’re approved to dispense hearing aids and practice audiology in the best interest of their patients
- Commitment to ethical practice is evident by the required oath they pledge to their vocation and must adhere to in order to maintain their license. This oath states that audiologists must always practice in the best interest of the patient and means that patients can always count on the advice and recommendations from an audiologist to be honest and aimed at providing the most appropriate solutions, no matter what.
When deciding who to see for your hearing needs, audiologists offer the highest level of expertise.
Hearing aids are medical devices and must be recommended and prescribed by licensed and qualified professionals. Because of their lengthy training, audiologists are the only hearing professionals licensed to perform several hearing health services (such as earwax removal) and to get to the bottom of what is causing your hearing problems (using thorough diagnostic testing).
What Are OTC Hearing Aids?
The number of Americans diagnosed with hearing loss continues to grow, and with it the demand for more affordable and accessible hearing loss treatments (specifically, hearing aids). This is where OTC hearing aids are changing the way hearing healthcare providers connect and serve clients.
OTC hearing aids came on the scene thanks to the OTC Hearing Aid Act passed by Congress in 2017. This legislation approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These readily available devices do not require a hearing healthcare provider to purchase and offer some of the same functionality as traditional hearing aids.
While they are often believed to be a more affordable option for treating hearing loss, the sticker price doesn’t tell the whole story.
Pros and Cons of OTC Hearing Aids
If you’ve investigated hearing aids, it’s no secret that the sticker price of traditional hearing aids can be much higher than that of OTC hearing aids. That can be a huge selling point for those on a tighter budget who are committed to treating their hearing loss.
- Hearing evaluation
- Hearing aid fittings and ongoing adjustments
- Guidance on choosing the best hearing aid with the features you need and how to maintain them, so it lasts long-term
- Counseling on how to use and maintain the hearing aid
However, the cost of OTC hearing aids may not include the same services as those of traditional hearing aids discussed above,
These services offered by hearing healthcare professionals can make all the difference in how well the hearing aids work, how comfortable they are, and how likely someone is to continue using the hearing aids.
The bottom line is that treating hearing loss is about more than a price tag. The right guidance, diagnosis, and maintenance can make all the difference.