Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are devices which you can purchase in store or by mail order.
They have recently seen a rise due to the law passed by the FDA, which requires certain labels and messages to be made on the packaging warning users of the risks.
Just recently, Attorney General Ken Paxton raised a concern to Texans warning them to be “cautious” when purchasing over-the-counter devices.
You may be thinking, what’s the risk?
Comparing them to hearing aids, it is hard to put them into the same category, as they both hold different purposes.
Hearing aids are not mere accessories, but they are medical devices which are prescribed by a doctor.
This is not based on a “one-size-fits-all” approach but one that is carefully selected based on your individual requirements, lifestyle, and listening preferences.
If you are someone that suffers with a hearing loss, you know that it is not just an inability to hear, but it is also the clarity that you miss, which makes translating conversations so difficult.
A doctor of audiology, which has trained and specialized for several years, is the most qualified person to take a look into your ears and accurately diagnose your condition.
From there, they will recommend a device based on your individual needs and work alongside you to achieve the best possible outcome. If the wrong hearing device is recommended, it can cause several issues.
Here Lies The Problem…
By now, you’ll understand that purchasing hearing aids is not just an easy method.
Over-the-counter devices on the other hand is simple.
If you are wanting to purchase over-the-counter devices, most of the time, you don’t need a hearing assessment nor the expertise of a medical professional.
This causes a range of problems, as there is a huge chance that the device you may purchase will be ineffective, dangerous, and completely unusable in terms of solving your hearing loss issue. In fact, it could actually make your issues worse!
While the reduced price tag may be tempting, the motto “You get what you pay for” is best fit for this scenario.
OTC Hearing Aids Are Not Approved By The FDA
One of the most important factors to note is that OTCs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because they are not classified as medical-grade devices, as they contain very low-quality amplifiers.
Some companies market them as “registered” to imply that the FDA has approved them when it is completely untrue.
Why Is It So Important For Hearing Aids To Be Tailored To The Individual?
Have you ever put a pair of earphones into your ears and it just doesn’t feel right?
Well, that is exactly the case with hearing aids. As they are inserted directly inside of the ear canal, you want to ensure that they provide maximum comfort and are not at risk of falling out.
When you visit Holland Hearing, we will provide a custom mold impression of your ears to ensure a proper feel and fit.
OTC hearing aids are not specially fit by an audiologist, making them hugely at risk of poor amplification of sound or poor programming. This means that they might not improve your hearing quality at all.
If the user finds the device uncomfortable, they are most likely going to stop wearing them completely and begrudge the fact that they invested a lot of money into them.
Our concern is that people purchase OTC hearing aids without a proper hearing assessment and believe that all hearing aids are inadequate for them.
So, What Should Texans Do?
If you’ve recently noticed a change in your hearing, then you may be considering the different options available – OTC hearing aids included.
As per Attorney General Ken Paxton’s plea, and indeed ours at Holland Hearing, we strongly encourage you to consider your other options, if not avoid this, as your hearing health is too important to take any shortcuts.
The best thing you can do is seek professional advice from an audiologist or hearing care specialist, which usually starts with a hearing assessment. In your assessment, your doctor will be able to clearly identify any problems and advise you on what to do next.
In Summary, Remember These Tips When Purchasing A Hearing Aid:
- Get a hearing assessment. It’s the best way of determining your individual requirements and achieving the best possible outcome.
- Remember that OTC hearing aids are not FDA APPROVED. Some even deceptively market themselves as approved – they aren’t.
- Before purchasing, research the seller at the Better Business Bureau. Read online reviews and endorsements with caution, unless you know and trust the source.
Our specialists at Holland Hearing have been training for many years and have seen the many changes in hearing aid technology. Using our expertise, we can proudly guide you in the right direction, ensuring we get to the direct root of your concerns.
If you’d like to talk to us about your hearing, or hearing aids, then you’re welcome to get in touch with us at (325) 437-4730