OTC Hearing Aids
A new category of hearing aids for those who need a little amplification.
OTC Hearing Aids
At Love to Hear Again Audiology, our goal is to help you experience the best hearing possible. We understand everyone’s hearing loss, perceived difficulty, and budgets are different. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids have been around for years, but are now finally FDA regulated. We see OTC as a positive opportunity for the roughly 80% of Americans with hearing loss who are not currently getting help due in part to accessibility/affordability. More access and options to entry-level hearing devices will hopefully lead to earlier adoption of hearing help for those who would’ve waited 5-7 years to seek help after first noticing hearing decline.
How to Choose Which Option is Right For You
OTC hearing aids are meant for adults (18 years+) with a “perceived mild to moderate hearing loss” according to FDA regulation. Per FDA regulations, OTC hearing aids must include a defined maximum level safety limit and must allow the user to adjust to some degree the volume level and general sound quality (bass vs. treble). Sadly, manufacturers and retail sellers will not be required to accept returns nor offer refunds if these devices aren’t satisfactory.
Those who may need a little help only in certain situations, who are not quite ready for full-time prescription hearing aids, might be ideal candidates for OTC hearing aids. But, before choosing an OTC device, if you have any concerns on the severity of your hearing loss or suspect an underlying cause that might need medical attention, we recommend coming in for a baseline diagnostic hearing exam.
As healthcare providers, we will always advocate for your best interest, so we caution against neglect of potential root medical causes by skipping straight to self-treating a symptom. Hearing decline concerns which can be identified or ruled out with the help of an Audiologist include wax obstruction, ear infection/fluid behind the eardrum, cognitive decline, TIA, viral attack, or acoustic tumors that can cause rapidly progressive or sudden loss. These possible concerns may go unidentified or untreated when choosing OTC hearing aids before seeing a medical professional.
Similar to reading glasses which are self-administered based on perceived improvement, OTC hearing devices do not require a diagnostic hearing evaluation nor a prescription by a licensed professional and are not calibrated for your specific hearing needs nor verified with objective outcome measures to ensure proper and adequate benefit is being reached. If you have a complex hearing loss, such as loss of hearing in only one ear, symptoms like tinnitus, or you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe loss, then you would more likely better benefit from a full-time prescriptive hearing aid tailored to your needs by a licensed professional. If you already use traditional prescriptive hearing aids, downgrading to OTC devices would be a step backwards in your hearing journey.
If you have started to experience a perceived minor difficulty with your hearing, or on occasion in certain environments, an OTC hearing aid could be a low-cost first step on your hearing journey. It is still important to continue to be proactive with your hearing health by coming in for regular hearing evaluations whenever you or your loved ones perceive a decline. Our audiologists can help you track changes in your hearing ability over time, and if/when your hearing loss progresses at some point to need prescription, full-time hearing aids, we are prepared and happy to help you. Your hearing journey is our top priority.
We want to help you hear better. We now offer the following services for over-the-counter hearing aids:
- Verification of OTC hearing aid settings
- Smartphone/app set up assistance
- Clean & checks
We are happy to help you with your devices.
Love to Hear Again Audiology is located just off of William D. Tate, on the corner of S. Ball St. (behind Andy’s Frozen Custard).
1125 S. Ball St. STE 105
Grapevine, TX 76051
By Appointment ONLY:
Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm
Walk-in Service Hour 12:00PM-1:00PM