The drawbacks of OTC hearing aids.
As October is Audiology Awareness Month, we’d like to let you know about recent news regarding hearing aids that could have an impact on your hearing health. 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 for the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
OTC hearing aids will not require a prescription from an audiologist, making them more accessible for many. However,
these aids may come with a hidden cost to your hearing health, as only a licensed audiologist can provide the expert care needed for optimal hearing.
Without a comprehensive hearing evaluation, there’s no way to know the degree of hearing loss you may have. OTC hearing aids are designed only for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss and choose OTC hearing aids, you won’t receive the proper amplification levels.
Skipping a screening also eliminates the opportunity for an audiologist to diagnose and treat conditions like excessive earwax and look for any underlying medical issues that may contribute to your hearing loss.
Audiologists fit hearing aids to provide the correct amplification levels over the proper frequencies for patients, with six to ten follow-ups and routine checks during the first year of use. OTC hearing aids ship with factory presets, so the chance of finding a pair that helps you hear your best is less likely, and retailers will likely not provide adjustments.
If you are concerned that you may have hearing loss, or if you are considering OTC hearing aids, we highly recommend that you speak to a licensed hearing health professional at the Audiology Center of Maine first. We are here to help you on your hearing health care journey, wherever it may take you.