What considerations should you make before choosing an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Today marks the launch of over-the-counter hearing aid sales online and in stores, after the FDA’s announcement this summer. To assist customers in choosing a new hearing aid, which may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, health organisations, audiologists, and shops themselves are releasing shopping guides and in-store experiences.
While there is a dizzying amount of functions available on the smartphones, choosing the correct one requires time and pre-shopping study. According to audiologist Nicholas Reed, AuD, anyone with the technical skills to update the software on a smartphone is qualified to use a self-fitting hearing aid.
When looking for an OTC hearing aid, experts in the Post urged customers to be ready for the following factors:
- Type: Behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, and in-the-canal are the three primary types.
- Watching videos will help you assess how well the item fits.
- Features: Some features, such smartphone integration or earwax filters, are optional, whereas others are necessary.
In an interview with NPR, Kate Carr, the head of the trade association for companies that make hearing aids, said, “I hate to use the words ‘buyer beware,’ so instead it’s ‘buyer be educated’ about what you’re doing and what your needs are.
Adults with mild to moderate hearing loss can purchase a hearing aid without a prescription or a hearing test. The new offerings are anticipated to have an impact on millions of Americans because many people who could benefit from hearing aids have never used them and because hearing aids purchased with a prescription typically cost $3,000 more than the now widely accessible models. (Those are the only models of hearing aids that can be purchased OTC.)
According to a government data compilation, 30 million Americans could benefit from using hearing aids, and among them, at least one in ten have never used one.
Look for a minimum return policy of 30 days because first-time users should give themselves around 30 days to assess whether the model they choose is the correct one for them, according to the Post. Although there is no minimum return term necessary, the FDA regulations for over-the-counter hearing aids do require a return period to be printed on the box.
The publication recommended starting your investigation for an OTC hearing aid purchase at websites like HearingTracker.com and Soundly.com.