What You Need To Know About OTC Hearing Aids
Following Congress’s enactment of bipartisan legislation in October 2022, OTC hearing aids are now readily available in retail stores and drugstores throughout the United States. The emergence of this new hearing device has sparked inquiries regarding its efficacy vis-à-vis medically prescribed hearing devices. It is recommended that individuals seeking hearing aids consult an audiologist or ENT specialist to discuss their hearing options and determine their eligibility for OTC hearing aids. Further details on the latest developments in audiology are presented below.
Information on Medically Prescribed Hearing Aids
The Food and Drug Administration has allowed for the developing of a line of over-the-counter hearing aids specifically designed for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. These devices do not require the involvement of an audiologist or a prescription, although the degree of customization may be limited. Some models come equipped with a self-fitting feature that allows for increased personalization.
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids may appear to be the more affordable option, but it is important to note that personalized prescription hearing aids are worth the additional investment. In the event that an OTC hearing aid does not fit properly, it may result in the need to purchase alternate models, which can ultimately increase expenses. Therefore, it is highly recommended that individuals seek consultation with a professional audiologist or ENT to obtain a comprehensive breakdown of costs and explore potential financial support.
Explaining Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids
OTC hearing aids have a similar function to prescription hearing aids but have some limitations in reducing background noise and other features. The main difference between OTC hearing aids and prescription hearing aids is that OTC hearing aids lack customization and computer processing. Audiologists can program prescription hearing aids to meet individual needs. Determining one’s hearing needs can be a challenging task without proper testing. Selecting an inappropriate hearing aid can exacerbate one’s hearing issues. As the human ear’s functionality may change over time, ongoing challenges may arise without the assistance of an audiologist to program the hearing aid. Audiologists acknowledge the importance of time and strive to provide effective solutions.
Currently, insurance does not cover hearing aid investment; however, some Medicaid plans and third parties may provide coverage, but it varies by state. Research or speak with your employer to learn more about your insurance plan. Insurance companies usually cover the cost of hearing tests despite the lack of coverage. If you visit an audiologist or ENT, you can file a claim for coverage. During the evaluation, your provider can assess your coverage plan and provide recommendations based on your personal needs.
OTC Hearing Aids For Children?
The use of over-the-counter hearing aids for children by the FDA is not approved as such children have unique needs that necessitate the services of a certified audiologist. As children grow, their ear size and hearing requirements change; thus, frequent check-ups are crucial to fulfill developmental and auditory milestones. If your child experiences hearing difficulties, an audiologist or ENT can offer a personalized solution, including hearing aids and remedies for chronic ear infections.
Are Medically Prescribed Hearing Aids Generally Recommended?
An audiologist or ENT typically won’t recommend over-the-counter hearing aids. However, if you have mild hearing loss, over-the-counter aids could be helpful. We recommend seeing an audiologist for a full hearing test and aid recommendation instead of relying solely on over-the-counter aids. Prescription hearing aids can make the difference between muffled sounds and being able to hear clearly.