What are Over The Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids?
Five years in the making, Over The Counter (OTC) hearing aids are finally becoming a reality. This is good news for both those with hearing loss and audiologists. If you'd like to discuss your options, or go into more specific about these devices, Kathleen is happy to help you navigate all your options. She is well-versed in this emerging area of technology!
Here is Kathleen's 7 Point Guide to OTC Hearing Aids
OTC hearing aids are likely going to have a lot of different looks- some like headphones, some like hearing aids that go over the ear, some like hearing aids going in the ear, and probably even AirPods! Again, we don't exactly know what is in store until the manufacturers have more time to design and build these new devices.
OTC hearing aids are meant for adults and should never be used on kids. This is for the safety of children and to ensure that the hearing loss is treated holistically; there might be other issues with the ears or some overlapping issues with speech or language. Because of this, children should always seek out audiologists for proper care and follow up.
OTC hearing aids work best for mild to moderate hearing losses. The trick here is that it is self-perceived hearing loss, and we aren't always the best judges of hearing, particularly as compared to our ability to judge our vision. Given this, it is still recommended to see an audiologist for a hearing test to make sure that your hearing is in the appropriate range for these devices.
OTC hearing aids will be a great option for millions of Americans! It will be an affordable and accessible option and will help people hear better earlier. This is great news as earlier intervention has been shown to lead to the best outcomes for those with hearing loss.
OTC hearing aids are self-fit and managed, but it can be complicated! Kathleen is well-versed in these offering and is happy to assist, whether it is figuring out which device would be best for you to try, some tips for how you can get the most out of programming your own devices, or technical support if issues arise. Audiologists are ready to work with you to get you hearing better!
OTC hearing aids are not necessarily new. While there's been a lot of fanfare about this new category of hearing aids, there have always been devices available off the shelf for people to improve their hearing. Traditionally, these devices have been known as personal sound amplifying products (PSAPs) or hearables. While some have worked great, the issue is that they have never been regulated by the FDA like traditional hearing aids are. OTC hearing aids are therefore regulated and standardized PSAPs to ensure that they work and are safe.
OTC hearing aids might be a few months away! With the FDA guidelines, manufacturers now know the parameters for how to make these devices and what standards they must meet. Now, we have to give the manufacturers some time to build them. It'll be exciting to see what they come up with, but don't run to CVS just yet!
Schedule an appointment today to better understand your options, including over the counter hearing aids.