Why Over-the-Counter Hearing Devices Aren’t The Solution

As a practice led by doctorate-level audiologists, we’re certainly advocates for both affordable and properly-diagnosed hearing loss treatment. People shouldn’t have to choose between treating chronic hearing loss and other necessities, like housing or food. Unfortunately, that decision is often made by lower income, elderly Americans. In fact, only one in five people who have hearing loss actually wear hearing aids to improve their lifestyle.

At Hope Hearing & Tinnitus Center, we support the idea that hearing healthcare should be more affordable for all. However, we also believe that the mass production of over-the-counter (OTC) generic hearing aids/devices is not the answer.

In August 2022, the FDA announced the approval of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, which can be sold at both local retail stores and online without the need for a medical exam, prescription, or fitting adjustment by a professional audiologist.

FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids/Devices

Statistically, around 30 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss and could benefit from access to affordable devices. That said, making sure your unique condition is addressed is important, rather than providing a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

How Effective Are Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Ultimately, hearing happens in the brain. When an audiologist diagnoses a chronic hearing condition, they’ll test several factors affecting the communication between the sound entering the ear and what’s being translated “upstairs”.

With OTC hearing devices, everyone is essentially getting the exact same “diagnosis”, which – in this case – is the equivalent of simply turning up the volume on your TV. If the device isn’t targeted at your specific condition, is it really worth it?

Why Do I Need An Audiologist?

When you buy over-the-counter products, you miss out on the human impact. You don’t receive a proper diagnosis or the opportunity to test different products to find your ideal fit. Most importantly, you don’t have the opportunity for support from a local team after the sale. At Hope Hearing & Tinnitus Center, we treat hearing loss to improve your quality of life.

It’s also not uncommon for short term hearing loss to be related to earwax compaction. Before you spend hard-earned money on any device, it’s worth having your ear examined for blockages.

Failure to properly treat hearing loss can make it much more difficult to stay connected with loved ones and greatly increases the risk of cognitive decline and dementia symptoms.

Hearing is one of our most valuable senses. Why put optimal performance at risk by sacrificing your quality of care? We’ll do our best to properly diagnose your condition while providing options that are most affordable to you. Please reach out to our team for an evaluation today.