Myth vs. Reality: Hearing Loss, OTC Hearing Aids & You
On July 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order asking the Department of Health and Human Services to consider issuing proposed rules within 120 days to sell over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, which will be available without a prescription.
OTC hearing aids aren’t available in stores yet. If you see something marketed as a hearing aid at a store, be aware that it is a one-size-fits-all sound amplifier, which likely cannot treat your individual hearing loss.
You may have questions about OTC hearing aids, so we’d like to address some common myths about hearing loss and these new devices.
Myth: Buying OTC Hearing Aids & Skipping My Hearing Evaluation Is Fine
Reality: Hearing loss is a medical issue that requires care from a licensed professional. Audiologists all hold doctorates in audiology that qualify them to diagnose, manage and treat hearing and balance problems.
In addition, audiologists diagnose conditions like excessive earwax and look for underlying medical issues that contribute to hearing loss, which could have long-term health consequences if left untreated.
Myth: OTC Hearing Aids Are for Everyone
Reality: Without an evaluation by an audiologist, there’s no way to know a patient’s degree of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids are designed only for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and are not recommended for children or people with severe cases.
Myth: OTC Hearing Aids Work Great
Reality: OTC hearing aids ship with factory presets. Every case of hearing loss is unique, so the chance of finding a pair that works for your specific needs is slim, and retailers will likely not provide adjustments. When you purchase devices from us, you receive six to 10 follow-ups and routine adjustments during your first year of use. This process is necessary to provide the correct amplification levels over the proper frequencies, which ensures you hear your best.
Myth: I Can’t Afford Traditional Hearing Aids
Reality: Medical-grade hearing aids vary in price range based on your specific needs. Most practices have options for every budget, including flexible financing and/or leasing plans.
The cost of hearing aids isn’t just for the devices—it also includes all follow-up visits, adjustments and counseling. Unfortunately, insurance companies and Medicare do not reimburse audiologists for these types of necessary services.
When you choose to seek treatment from an audiologist, your customized treatment plan includes an in-depth hearing test, one-on-one consultations, follow-up care and repairs.
Plus, we provide troubleshooting support to help you with Bluetooth® connectivity and device adjustments, malfunctions, cleanings and comfort. We also offer communication counseling to discuss communication strategies and tips for hearing aid use.
Have more questions about your hearing aid options? Call us to learn more or schedule an appointment today!