Why Choosing Professional Hearing Care is Vital to Your Health
Hearing loss is not a one-size-fits-all condition.
Hearing loss is common and treatable. And, it is as unique as you. With the different types of hearing loss and levels of complexity, a hearing professional can guide you through selecting the right solution for your specific hearing and lifestyle needs.
Hearing healthcare professionals are trained to identify hearing loss and provide customized treatment that addresses your specific hearing needs and lifestyle. A hearing healthcare professional can explain the differences between prescription hearing aids and hearing aids available over the counter and guide you on the right decision for you.
How will I know what my hearing loss is?
There are several online hearing tests available, and you can try the one we offer! However, they are not diagnostic medical tests. The only way to determine hearing loss or if you may need hearing aid solutions, is to schedule a hearing exam with a licensed hearing professional. Both an audiogram and a physical examination are required to determine hearing loss.
Clinically, hearing loss falls into different degrees. Mild, moderate, severe, and profound are some of the most common degrees with variations in between. Your hearing loss degree depends on your ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) at different volumes (decibels dB). Hearing threshold of mild loss is 26-40 dB, moderate is 41-55 dB, severe is 71-90 dB and profound is over 91dB.
No matter what type of hearing aids you choose to try, our hearing aid specialist(s) can help ensure all your hearing healthcare needs are addressed over time as your hearing demands change. The first step would be to call or schedule an appointment for a complimentary hearing screening.
What are Prescription hearing aids?
Prescription hearing aids are a category of hearing aids available through a hearing professional to treat all degrees of hearing loss. These hearing aids are fitted and programmed by a hearing professional for an individual’s unique hearing loss and lifestyle needs. Follow-up care including service and repairs are also provided by a hearing professional and often bundled in the pricing. Please know that many times you can find a prescription hearing aid at close to the same price as an OTC hearing aid and these aids will provide additional benefits with service.
Prescriptive hearing aids are generally recommended over OTC hearing aids by health professionals since these are designed to fit your specific hearing loss needs. Remember the cost of these hearing aids includes the expertise, service, and hearing aid fittings programmed to perform at a therapeutic level. The correct fitting is critical to protecting your overall brain health.
What does Over-the-Counter (OTC) mean?
OTC hearing aids are a reclassification of a product that has been available over the counter and do not require a hearing test or licensed hearing professional to fit. These products for the past several generations have been referred to as PSAPs. They’re made for adults 18 years of age and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. These hearing aids are “one-size-fits most” with no hearing evaluation or follow up care provided.
The FDA has approved Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled on August 16, 2022, legalization of ‘Over-the-Counter’ or OTC hearing aids that has taken effect as of October 17, 2022. These products will be available online and in stores to customers without the need of a licensed hearing professional to test or fit the products.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Price Tag: Traditional hearing aids are seen as expensive because the cost includes the devices along with the service and expertise of the hearing professional. So if you decide to go with an over-the-counter hearing aid we recommend you know what is covered with your device.
Limitations of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Unknown Hearing Loss or Issues: Much like eyesight, hearing loss comes in a variety of types and pose different challenges. Hearing loss comes in a variety of types including sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss; each type of hearing loss impacts different frequencies and may require differing treatment methods. The lack of a physical ear examination may lead to other unnoticed potential issues that can show similar hearing loss symptoms such as ear drum damage or simple wax buildup.
One Size Fit Most: Over-the-counter hearing aids are like generic reading glasses. They are one size fits most with limited customization for comfort. These devices may help if you need a mild correction but will not be specifically designed for your exact needs. Your ears are unique and what you might find comfortable may not be comfortable to the next patient.
Lack of Service: Over-the-counter hearing aids come with little to no professional service or assistance. For the most part, it is a do-it-yourself solution. The lack of regular cleanings, verification, and monitoring of your specific hearing loss leaves room for doubt. Is this device truly helping me? How well does this adjustment fit my needs? Is there a bigger issue or wax build up? These questions plus more stay unanswered.
Hearing plays a major role in our emotional well-being and overall quality of life — with a growing body of research linking hearing loss to dementia and cognitive decline, it is important that you receive the treatment that is right for you. When we hear our best, it’s easy to stay engaged, alert and active. Whether you are choosing an OTC hearing aid or a prescription hearing aid, we would strongly encourage you to make sure you visit a professional to make sure you are getting the right hearing aid for your loss.