When it comes to choosing hearing aid technology, you’d expect that most people would go the traditional route, which means visiting a hearing healthcare clinic.

Except more people are turning to alternative methods, such as over-the-counter, which allows you to purchase a hearing aid in-store without visiting an audiologist.

While we are huge advocates for decreasing the stigma associated with hearing loss, OTC hearing aids present a serious risk, especially to those with an untreated and undiagnosed hearing concern.

Just recently, Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Texans “to be cautious” when purchasing over-the-counter hearing aids. His concern is shared with many others in the hearing healthcare industry, who believe it presents various complications.

To put it simply, hearing aids are a lot different from OTC. This is why they are medically prescribed by a specialist rather than simply bought over the internet.

This is Where the Problem Lies… 

Hearing loss ranges from person to person. Ask any medical professional, and they’ll say that no two ears are the same.

Hearing aids are medical devices that are carefully selected based on your individual listening preferences, your results from your hearing assessment, lifestyle, and interests.

When you visit a hearing healthcare clinic, there is a series of tests you will go through to evaluate what hearing device is best suited for you. This process is extremely important, as it is crucial to treating your hearing loss.

Purchasing over-the-counter hearing aids, on the other hand, is an extremely simple process that requires no hearing assessment or intervention from a medical professional.

This cuts out the support and assistance you will receive along your journey and increases the chance that the hearing aids you purchase will be dangerous and ineffective.

OTC Hearing Aids Are Not Approved by the FDA

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates hearing aids, amplifiers, such as over-the-counter, are not a regulated item. This is due to the low-quality amplifiers, making them unable to be classed as medical-grade devices.

Some over-the-counter devices are marketed as “registered” to the FDA when in fact, they are not.

Why is A Custom-Fit So Important?

For something that you wear all hours of the day, you want to ensure that it provides maximum comfort and safety. Hearing aids are a huge investment, so their durability is a key factor.

To have them properly fit your ears, you will have a custom-mold impression made of your ears. This will help your hearing aids to provide adequate improvement to your hearing and ensure that they don’t irritate the ear canal.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are designed to be worn by the masses instead of individually. This means that you should expect to experience some discomfort from time to time, and they perhaps may even fall out!

What Should Texans Do?

If you enjoy hearing your children laughing or perhaps the birds tweeting in the morning, then you’re aware of the impact hearing has on your life.

While purchasing OTC hearing aids may seem like the more convenient option, the long-term implications will cause far more damage to your hearing and will inevitably leave you with a larger bill as a result.

The best thing you can do is seek advice from a medical professional such as an audiologist or hearing care specialist. From there, they will conduct a hearing assessment that looks into all aspects of your hearing.

Remember These Tips When Purchasing A Hearing Aid:  

  • Get a hearing assessment. It’s quick, easy, and the best way of determining your individual requirements.
  • Remember that OTC hearing aids are not FDA approved, so purchase them at your own risk.
  • Research the Better Business Bureau, which includes reviews and endorsements before purchasing any type of hearing aid.

If you’d like to talk to us about over-the-counter devices, hearing loss, or anything else, please know that we are happy to help. Just get in touch with us at (432) 689-2220.

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Dr. Sally Miranda

Dr. Miranda was the first doctor of audiology to qualify in Midland, TX, in 2000. She started her career working for a busy ENT practice but soon realized the pressurized environment wasn’t suitable for her, as she felt unable to give her patients the full care and attention she believed they deserved. In 2007, she founded All About Hearing. Since then, Dr. Miranda and her team have helped thousands of local people – from children to grandparents – to better care for their hearing health, through their “family approach” to patient care.