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OTC

7/29/2021 by Meg Cates, Au.D.

Did you see Joe Biden talk about hearing aids? I have been hearing about the new hearing aid rules from patients several times over since his announcement of over-the-counter hearing aids, or OTC hearing aids.

This is nothing new.

Consumer electronics have been dabbling in hearing healthcare for decades, quick to jump on the idea that they can provide a “quick fix”. If you look at personal amplifiers, which are very much the same thing under a different branding, you will see countless companies that have come and have gone.

OTC hearing aids are for the purpose of treating slight to mild and moderate hearing loss. They do not require a professional to look in your ear for earwax, they do not clear having someone reviewing the 10 FDA red flag questions of whether you should see an ENT physician for a medical issue. You know what else they do not have? Follow-through and support. OTC hearing aids will be just as susceptible to damage from moisture, ear wax, etc.

Most Americans can afford hearing aids. Those who cannot, I recommend external funding sources (such as the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation) in order to get them professionally fit hearing aids for their best outcomes.

If you get an OTC hearing aid, I would be happy to see you to run an independent analysis of how they are working in your ears for your hearing needs. All of the studies I have seen show time and again that most of these devices on most people are inappropriately fit and not providing the quality of sound required for a successful healthcare outcome.

You deserve to hear your best.