Without a doubt, hearing loss significantly affects the quality of life for tens of millions of adults in the United States.
Untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, and it has been associated with serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, dementia, reduced mobility, and falls.
Yet only one in four adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them.
Making hearing healthcare more accessible and affordable is a public health priority and one of our goals this month as we raise awareness for Better Hearing Month.
Leading experts in science, technology, and hearing healthcare have been working with researchers, health professionals, and consumers to find safe and effective ways to improve access to hearing healthcare.
OTC Device Answers
OTC hearing aids are a relatively new concept.
A concept that has been created to motivate people with a suspected hearing loss, who typically would not treat their hearing loss.
The OTC concept aims at making hearing aids affordable, accessible, and safe for individuals with minimal hearing losses.
This OTC option may be the motivating first step for those many people who fall into the category.
The OTC devices are not for everyone. OTC hearing aids will be for adults who might have a mild to moderate hearing loss.
They are not meant for children or for adults who have a moderate to severe to profound hearing loss or significant difficulty hearing.
If you have a severe hearing loss, OTC hearing aids might not be able to amplify sounds at high enough levels to help you.
Recently, their popularity has grown because they are easy to obtain.
There are no hearing tests required, no prescription required, no appointments required, and they are less expensive than FDA approved hearing devices.
Hearing Aid Answers
Your hearing aids require a comprehensive hearing evaluation for accurate programming.
They are programmed by a hearing healthcare professional using prescribed formulas based on your hearing test results.
Also, they are maintained and adjusted by a hearing healthcare professional. Hearing aids also provide:
- Compatible accessories for better hearing
- Noise management capabilities
- Output limiting
Are OTCs Beneficial At All?
The OTC option may be beneficial for someone who would otherwise not treat their hearing loss – or for someone who is beginning their journey and not ready for a professional intervention.
They would not be the best fit for someone with greater than a mild hearing loss or someone who has poor speech.
If your friend is satisfied with the hearing ability gained by the OTC device, then that is fantastic for them. It is not the best option for everyone, as no two people are the same.
Each individual’s hearing loss and better hearing expectations are different.
If your friend ever has difficulties or the device no longer is satisfactory, please suggest that they pursue a professional evaluation.
We all choose to consume in different ways. Each person will choose the hearing journey that works best for them at a particular time in their life.
A safe journey that provides better hearing and less frustration and isolation is a positive journey.
If someone is concerned, the ideal first step is a comprehensive hearing evaluation with an audiologist.
An audiologist will discuss with you all treatment options, including those that may be medical in nature.
To schedule a no-obligation consultation with me, please click here.