OTC Hearing Aids?

We have been getting questions about the new Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid regulations multiple times a day! This makes for an exciting time in hearing health care. We hope that this will lead to wider awareness and acceptance of hearing care!

For context: Over-the-Counter hearing aids have been around for decades. From amplifiers in hunting stores, to As-Seen-On-TV devices, to mail order and internet hearing aids – this is nothing new. These devices have been widely available and unregulated.

In 2017 the recategorization and increased regulation of hearing aids passed in congress and the FDA was charged with generating these new regulations. After several years and interruptions to the process, these regulations were finally published last week, and go into effect in October. We are delighted to have these regulations in place to remove devices from the market that can cause further hearing loss.

As an audiologist, I am thrilled to have hearing care in the media and popular conversations. Under an experimental waiver, we have been carrying an OTC prototype in our office since March. Check them out here.

Keep in mind that the same differences in quality, care, and benefit will exist with hearing aids as exists with prescription versus over-the-counter medications, orthotics, and orthodontics. Over-the-counter is a great place to start and get some relief. Professional prescription level care can offer a great deal more customization, care and benefit.

We do offer support for over-the-counter devices. Often the amount of help we can offer is limited, but any experienced hearing aid user will tell you that a deep cleaning can make a world of difference in function, and routine maintenance will help you get the most from your devices. If you would like professional support, advice, or deep cleaning we are here to help!

Start with a professional hearing evaluation and consultation to understand your hearing loss and options. Bring the devices you have, and we can help you get the most from them.