On October 19, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule to create a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. The rule is now up for 90 days of public comment and is a crucial step toward making hearing aids more accessible for many. What does this mean for you?
Under the rule, consumers will be able to buy OTC hearing aids from retailers without a medical exam or fitting. OTC devices are currently on the market, they are not prescriptive hearing aids and only help with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Curious to know the difference between prescriptive and OTC hearing aids? You should know that they will be available only for adults ages 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss or are under age 18, you will need prescription hearing aids.
How do you determine your hearing loss severity? By having an audiologist conduct a hearing evaluation. They’ll also do a thorough exam to check for any underlying medical conditions contributing to your hearing loss.
In addition, prescriptive hearing aids may require several adjustments, or fittings, by an audiologist to ensure they are helping you hear your best. Retailers will likely not provide adjustments for OTC products. An ill-fit hearing device may not offer the best hearing experience and could do more harm than good.
While we truly believe in affordable access to all, and we want to make sure you’re getting the best support for your individual hearing loss. If you’re considering OTC devices, please consult with our audiologist before making that purchase. We’ll determine your type and level of hearing loss land can work within your budget to find the right device for you.