What Does This Mean?
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are very different than traditional hearing aids. They do not require the oversight of a health professional; they are often self-fitting, and they offer a generic solution.
It could be compared to generic reading glasses versus fully prescribed eye glasses.
When OTC hearing devices do become available in what is estimated to be before November 6th, 2021, they will allow you to buy a low-cost device in the hundreds of dollars rather than the thousands of dollars that are typically required to work with a qualified health professional to achieve better hearing.
Our Thoughts On OTC
- If you have a moderate hearing loss or greater at ANY frequency, then over-the-counter hearing aids are NOT going to be an adequate solution, as OTC hearing aids are only meant for those with mild-moderate hearing loss.
- The only way to obtain an adequate diagnosis for your degree and type of hearing loss is to have your hearing professionally tested by an audiologist. OTC regulations disregard this very important first step to success, even though it is quite arguably the most important.
- Hearing aids alone are not several thousand dollars; they make up only part of the total cost when working with a qualified hearing professional. The professional utilizes years of expertise to walk each patient through the journey of better hearing. The investment typically includes the initial fitting, follow-up appointments, fine-tuning, and cleaning costs, as well as the cost of batteries and supplies (i.e., filters, domes, and receivers) for years down the road. Better hearing includes more than just hearing aids.
- Hearing aids, as well as the support of a hearing healthcare professional, are available at multiple price points and can vary from $1880 and higher, depending on your unique needs, circumstances and lifestyle – there is typically a solution for all budgets. There are also several organizations from the Texas Workforce Commission to our very own Give Hear Program that provides hearing help at little to no cost for patients in need.
- Over-the-counter are not the right option for most people – they’re only right for minimal hearing loss in very selective environments. Many who pursue this option will find only temporary relief in certain situations, leaving them wishing they had invested in a more permanent solution.
- Our hope is that when OTC hearing aids have officially launched, that it creates a “buzz”… causing people to consider their hearing loss much earlier than they would have in the past. Early detection leads to improved treatment results.
As always, we are here for you should you have questions; simply click here or call our office at (325)437-4730, and our friendly team will reach out shortly. Thank you for allowing us to keep you informed.
Kelsi Mangrem, Au.D.
Doctor of Audiology/Owner of Holland Hearing Center