OTC Hearing Aids: A Quick Overview

OTC Hearing Aids: A Quick Overview

by Rachel Ersoff, Au.D

The Facts:

On August 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 into law.  This piece of legislation will make certain types of hearing aids available to adults with a perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. In addition, the legislation requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate this new category of OTC hearing aids to ensure they meet the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protection that all other medical devices must meet. This gives consumers the option to purchase a safe, high-quality, FDA-regulated device at lower cost.

The Pros:

This would be a new option to allow adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss to get affordable and easily accessible hearing aids, hopefully with a higher standard of quality than is currently available over the counter.

The Cons:

The law relies on people to diagnose themselves with hearing loss, bypassing any medical examination, including Otoscopy, an audiogram performed with calibrated, standardized equipment, or clearance from a physician to wear amplification. Some people may require cerumen removal, surgery, medicinal intervention, or even an MRI to rule out a more serious medical issue.

Treating hearing loss can get very complex. Issues with physical fit, recruitment, background noise, distortion, and relationship problems are common, and cannot be treated with simple technology. Custom molds, counseling, precise programming, communication strategies, and hard work on the part of the patient along with their hearing professional are often required for optimum success with hearing aids.

Do you have any other thoughts on the pros and cons of OTC hearing aids? We want to be active in this discussion with you! Call 982-4848 to make a hearing appointment. Medicare and most insurances with cover the cost an annual hearing test.