Hearing loss is a common problem among middle-aged and older adults in the United States, and is especially prevalent among seniors. For example, it affects one-third of people between the ages of 65 and 74, and nearly half of people over the age of 75.
Under new FDA regulations, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are available for adults aged 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss.FDA-regulated over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are finally appearing online and in stores. About a dozen products are already on the market, and more are expected. Hearing aids are beginning to be sold over-the-counter for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
If you're suffering from hearing loss at this time and are considering purchasing an over-the-counter hearing aid, but aren't sure if over-the-counter is a good idea? It's understandable: there are many new over-the-counter devices on the market, but there is very little detailed information stated about over-the-counter hearing aids.
In October 2022, the FDA updated its long-awaited guidance on OTC hearing aids. The goal is to increase competition and make over-the-counter hearing aids easier.
The Traditional Hearing Aid Process
In the past, hearing aids were fitted and prescribed by a hearing professional, such as an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser. People who were often unable to hear others when communicating with friends or who were told by a loved one that they seemed to have difficulty hearing would first undergo a hearing test to determine whether or not to use hearing aids based on the recommendations of an audiologist.
Based on the individual's test results, lifestyle, hearing needs and budget, the specialist will recommend the right hearing aid, which will then be programmed specifically for the patient's hearing deficiencies.
The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid ProcessEven though the full FDA regulations for over-the-counter hearing aids are still being planned, the features of these devices are being updated all the time for different levels of customization and prices range from low to high. Sometimes they are "pre-programmed" according to the specific needs of the user. Users can choose the best over-the-counter hearing aids for their needs. There are even some online OTC hearing aids that can be contacted directly online to customize your hearing aids based on your hearing test form. Over-the-counter hearing aids are normally far less expensive than traditional hearing aids.
The starting price of over-the-counter hearing aids is lower than hearing aids purchased through audiologists, and the popularity of over-the-counter hearing aids may encourage more people to address their hearing loss.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid not for EveryoneBut not all people with hearing loss are suitable for over-the-counter hearing aids, and if they don't work, they should seek out a local audiologist to save their life, depending on their situation.
OTC hearing aids are for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you have more challenging hearing loss issues, you should see your doctor."