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Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Devices are Coming

Over the counter (OTC) hearing devices are coming. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved over the counter devices, which will be available in 2020, at the earliest. Many consumers are interested to learn more about these devices.

What are OTC Hearing Devices?

Over the counter hearing devices are pre-programmed devices. These devices will likely be sold in drug stores, online and in other retail locations throughout the country. They will be “direct-to-consumer” products, meaning a hearing care provider will not be involved. OTC Hearing devices are not programmed based on your hearing loss and can be compared to reader glasses.

Who should use OTC Hearing Devices?

Based on FDA regulations, OTC Hearing devices will be made for people with mild to moderate hearing losses. They can be used in limited listening situations.

Who should not use OTC Hearing Aids?

People with significant hearing difficulties should not use OTC Hearing devices. This is because they will likely see very little benefit due to the limited amount of volume available in these devices.

People who have a history of medical issues with their ears. Anyone who has a history of medical issues should be evaluated by a Doctor of Audiology who can look more closely at your hearing and make appropriate recommendations and referrals.

What are the positives of OTC devices?

OTC hearing devices will likely be a low-cost option. They may also increase accessibility as people will not have to visit a professional to try a hearing device.

What are the negatives of OTC devices?

OTC hearing devices will not work for everyone. Just as reader glasses only work for certain situations, OTC devices will also be limited. These devices are not programmed to your specific hearing loss which may sacrifice the benefit you will see.

The major downside we see with OTC devices is the lack of face-to-face assistance. Adjusting to hearing aids can be a process requiring instruction and fine-tuning adjustments to sound quality.

Before considering OTC devices visit a provider who can help you determine whether or not they are appropriate for you. Many times comparable pricing is available for a device that is specifically fit for you.

To make an appointment for a free consultation call Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 or email us at info@gardneraudiology.com

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Camilla Czulada, B.A.. Gardner Audiology Doctoral Extern

Camilla Czulada, B.A.. Gardner Audiology Doctoral Extern

USF Audiology Doctoral Student