Over-the-counter hearing aids are now a possibility. That’s right; you can now add hearing aids to a shopping list. The US Food and Drug Administration will allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids for those people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Allowing OTC sale of hearing aids will make hearing aids accessible to people without having to go through a healthcare provider. Although these products offer cost savings and convenience, there are concerns.
Hearing loss is a complex problem. Because of the multiple variables involved in the loss of hearing, a person will likely have difficulty diagnosing themselves. Reliance on a self-diagnosis may cause worsening of an undiagnosed hearing problem. Treating symptoms of a hearing loss with over-the-counter hearing aids is not sufficient. A hearing healthcare professional can accurately diagnose and address underlying issues that may exist. A survey suggests that consumers are not prepared to sacrifice proper hearing healthcare to save money. The results indicate that the majority of people surveyed prefer to have a hearing healthcare professional diagnose and treat their hearing problem. Adequate hearing healthcare depends on a proper hearing evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment from a trained professional.
Hearing aids are not cheap, and the cost is indeed a factor when considering purchasing a hearing aid. When you think that most insurance companies will not cover the cost of hearing aids, the price of the devices becomes a considerable factor. The OTC hearing aid survey recognizes how much people are willing to pay for a hearing device. The survey asks people how much they are willing to pay for OTC hearing aids with no supportive care. 81.5% say they would pay no more than $100 each for a hearing aid. The same group went on to say that they would pay no more than $500 for traditional, non-OTC hearing aids. The conclusion is that people do not value hearing aids alone.
So what do consumers value? According to the survey, 88% of respondents felt it necessary to have a hearing healthcare professional select the appropriate devices for their hearing problem. 83% went on to say that they thought it necessary to have follow-up care from an expert.
Currently, only 20 percent of Americans that would benefit from hearing aid uses one. The belief among many is that the OTC hearing aids will encourage more Americans to use a hearing aid. In countries where hearing aids are free or subsidized the rate of adoption among hearing aid users is higher than it is for Americans. The best case scenario is that OTC hearing aids will reduce the stigma that surrounds the use of hearing aids. If you are experiencing a hearing loss, make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional today. Let a professional diagnose and treat you with the best hearing solution for your particular hearing needs.