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Greek Community4 Things to Consider When Buying Over-the Counter Hearing Aids

4 Things to Consider When Buying Over-the Counter Hearing Aids

Hellenic News of America
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By: Virginia Gural-Toth AuD, CCC-A, manager of Audiology, Tinnitus and Balance Programs at Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute

Certain categories of hearing aids can now be sold over-the-counter (OTC), meaning consumers would not need a prescription or examination to buy them. While this means that hearing aids will be more accessible for people throughout the US, here are four things you should consider before making a purchase.

1 – Who is a good candidate for OTC hearing aids?
• Are you able to hear easily during quiet one-on-one conversations?
• Are there situations where you may want to wear a hearing aid, such as group gatherings where there’s a lot of ambient noise in the room?
• Do you often turn the volume up on the TV or on your phone during a call to help you hear better?

If you answer, ‘yes’ to all three, you could likely benefit from OTC hearing aids, however, it is strongly recommended that you get a professional hearing exam first.  An audiologist can measure your degree and type of hearing loss, and help determine if there are underlying medical conditions contributing to your hearing loss. At the end of the exam, they can also confirm that OTC hearing aids are the best option, or recommend something more appropriate for your specific needs.

2 – Who should seek prescription hearing aids?
People who consistently have trouble hearing in all listening situations likely benefit from prescription hearing aids. I like to compare hearing aids to glasses you may be able to use an inexpensive pair of readers from the drugstore to help you occasionally throughout the day, but when you’re having trouble seeing in most settings and need glasses consistently, you know it’s time to get a prescription pair. The same goes for hearing aids.

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With prescription hearing aids, you’ll get a custom product programmed specifically for your type and degree of hearing loss. They’ll also be fit uniquely to your ears, and tuned at the level you need for a more natural and comfortable sound. The hearing aid devices that are being sold over-the-counter should only be used on an as needed basis, if you need to wear hearing aids all the time, you probably need a prescription.

3 – How much do OTC hearing aids cost?
While it depends on the type you get, OTC hearing aids may cost about $300-$600 / ear. One of the benefits of OTC hearing aids is getting people the treatment they need, sooner, but it is still a large expense and you want to be sure you’re doing what’s best for your health.

4 – How to Get a Professional Hearing Exam
If you’re experiencing hearing loss and are considering buying hearing aids, speak to your primary care physician. Your primary care physician can provide a prescription for a professional hearing exam and recommend an audiologist in your area. The audiologists at Hackensack Meridian Health can evaluate your hearing and help you make a decision on what type of device is right for you.

For more information, click here.

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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