Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Increase Accessibility to Treatment
If you’ve heard of over-the-counter hearing aids, then you may have also heard you don’t need a prescription to purchase them. While they are convenient to buy and often cheaper than the prescription hearing aid alternative, patients will benefit from a licensed medical professional’s oversight. OTC hearing aids can function as a self-serve option, but did you also know that the top three reasons for hearing aid abandonment were background noise, lack of benefit and poor sound quality across ten different studies? Those are common issues, which can all be addressed by a licensed audiologist.
An audiologist helps you select the best hearing aid for your lifestyle, program it to your environment and adjust it to your specific hearing loss. While we currently offer prescription-only devices, no matter what hearing device you use, help from a licensed audiologist ensures you’re getting the greatest benefit from the option you choose.
What Are the Benefits of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?
Increasing the accessibility of hearing loss treatment is one of our team’s top priorities. According to one study, almost 86% of Americans 50 and older with hearing loss do not wear hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to isolation, cognitive difficulties and increased falls. Typically, over-the-counter hearing aids benefit adults who are experiencing mild hearing loss and only need sound amplification.
While these OTC devices may work well for some, certain patients should always receive prescription hearing aids. The National Institutes of Health recommends prescription hearing aids for people who do not hear louder sounds or struggle to hear conversations in quiet settings.
Our audiologists also work with the following groups for prescription hearing aid fittings:
- Children younger than 18
- Adults with dementia
- People who experience sudden hearing loss, a big difference between one ear and the other or tinnitus in one ear, which are potential signs of a medical problem
An Audiologist Plays an Important Role
An audiologist does more than provide you with hearing aids. Every patient’s needs are different, and whether you opt for an over-the-counter or prescription model, our provider can customize the device, so it best fits your lifestyle. Audiologists teach you how to use your new hearing aid so you can begin this new phase of your life with confidence.
Our audiologist in collaboration with our ENT provider will determine if your hearing loss is caused by a more serious medical connection and connect you with the appropriate care.
Additionally, our providers offer ongoing support as you navigate hearing loss treatment. Your hearing loss may change with time and require adjustments to your hearing aids. Our team can do that for you.
Bottom line: when you work with an audiologist, you have a partner for your hearing loss journey. You aren’t in it alone.