In August 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved regulations for a class of over-the-counter hearing aids in response to demands by consumers and other agencies. These devices will likely be available for purchase by mid-October 2022.
Prescriptive hearing aids are very different from OTCs. Before looking into hearing aids, you should understand the magnitude of your hearing loss through a complete hearing evaluation with a licensed audiologist. Having a proper hearing test, fitting, and professional guidance, you are less likely to misuse your hearing aid. If a hearing aid is not fit properly, this can cause further damage to the ear, possibly worsening the hearing loss.
The goal of OTCs is to provide more timely access to lower-cost hearing aids. Approximately 1 in 8 Americans and nearly 1.1 million Ohioans have hearing loss. Typically, people wait an average of 7 years before seeking help for their hearing loss. Studies have also shown that untreated hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of depression, falls, and cognitive decline.
Not everyone will benefit from an OTC. OTCs, for instance, are not approved for children under 18 and are not recommended for those with greater than mild to moderate hearing loss. You should have a thorough audiological evaluation before considering OTCs. In addition, if you have a history of ear drainage, history of sudden or rapid hearing loss, dizziness, hearing loss in only one ear, significant wax buildup in the ear, or pain/discomfort in the ear, you should be evaluated by a medical professional.
At Columbus Speech & Hearing, we believe it’s highly important to educate consumers about OTCs and how they can help you. Our Director of Clinical Services, Davy Weaver discussed OTCs on WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher. You can listen to the segment here.
At Columbus Speech & Hearing, our audiologists are available to answer questions you may have regarding hearing loss and amplification. We develop a custom treatment plan for you so you may have the greatest benefit from your hearing aids. We look forward to helping you!