As you may know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids directly to the consumer, meaning anybody can buy hearing aids in stores and online without an exam, prescription, or a proper fitting by an audiologist. There are some pros and cons to the new over-the-counter hearing aids. Below is information to help you better understand which may be right for you.
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids address mild to moderate hearing loss. With these hearing aids, a hearing test is not technically required but is strongly recommended. If you are constantly asking people to repeat themselves, find another person’s speech muffled, watch TV at a high volume or have difficulty with noisy environments, OTC hearing aids can be a consideration. However, an examination from a medical professional can often reveal treatable causes for hearing loss that do not require amplification.
Prescription hearing aids cover all varieties of hearing impairments – mild, moderate, or severe. These devices can help those with hearing loss in one ear or damage caused by excessive noise. They are more expensive due to the advanced technological options and can treat more complex hearing impairments, but most importantly they are customized by a hearing professional specific to your hearing loss and comfort.
OTC hearing aids are available at stores and pharmacies like CVS, Best Buy and Walgreens, and are also available online. By contrast, prescription hearing aids are selected by you and your audiologist. Once the hearing aid arrives, a specialist will fit and adjust the device to assure you have the best results and comfort. Whereas OTC hearing aids come without any assistance.
Ranging from $800 to $2,500 a pair, OTC hearing aids can typically be more cost-efficient than prescription hearing aids, but they are not covered by Medicare and most require private insurance. On the other hand, prescription hearing aids can range from $2,000 to $6,500 a pair, based on the technology and features added to the hearing aid. This price covers the cost, maintenance, fitting, and follow-up treatment.
Once purchased, OTC hearing aids are adjusted by the user through software or a smartphone app. If the OTC aids are still having issues, the user can reach out to the hearing aids customer support for additional assistance. Meanwhile, prescription hearing aids are adjusted by an audiologist, who will program your hearing aids and check their fit and functionality. They will teach you how to put them on and remove them, and how to adjust them. Audiologists are also able to fine-tune your prescribed hearing aid for no additional charge and are available in person to address any needs along the way.
If you are contemplating getting a hearing aid and not sure whether to get an OTC or traditional prescription hearing aid, let us help. At New Generation Hearing, we have various options of Hearing Aids in Miami to choose from. Contact us, an Audiologist in Miami, for a free consultation today and see if you are eligible for insurance coverage!