Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Increase Accessibility to Treatment
As you may have heard, over-the counter hearing aids are now an available option! They promise a number of benefits compared to prescription devices, such as no prescription needed, enhanced convenience of acquisition, and often a lower price. But before you make your decision, it is critical to keep in mind that the top three reasons for hearing aid abandonment are continued difficulty in background noise, lack of benefit, and poor sound quality. These three issues are common and your audiologist can help you manage them, but with over-the-counter devices, as opposed to prescription devices, your audiologist may not be able to affect change or improvement upon an over-the-counter device. At Albany ENT and Allergy, our goal is to help you select the hearing device that is best for your lifestyle, program it to your environment, and adjust it to your specific hearing loss and preferences. That way, no matter what hearing device you select, you can be assured that you’re deriving the greatest benefit from that choice.
What Are the Benefits of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?
Increasing the accessibility of hearing loss treatment is one of our team’s top priorities. According to one study, almost 86% of Americans 50 and older with hearing loss do not wear hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to isolation, cognitive difficulties, and increased falls.
If you decide that over-the-counter hearing aids are a good fit for you, we’ll help determine which model will serve you best. Typically, over-the-counter hearing aids benefit adults who are experiencing mild hearing loss and only need sound amplification, with no other significant health concerns.
While these devices may work well for some, certain patients should always consider prescription hearing aids. The National Institutes of Health recommends prescription hearing aids for people who do not hear louder sounds or struggle to hear conversations in quiet settings.
Our audiologists also work with the following groups for prescription hearing aid fittings:
- Children younger than 18
- Adults with dementia
- People who experience sudden hearing loss
- Those with a hearing difference between one ear and the other
- Those suffering from tinnitus
An Audiologist Plays an Important Role
An audiologist does more than provide you with hearing aids. Every patient’s needs are different, so whether you select an over-the-counter or prescription model, our clinicians will counsel you on how to be as successful as possible and do all that they can to customize the device to your lifestyle. They will also teach you how to use your new hearing aid so you can begin this new phase of your life with knowledge and confidence.
Our audiologists will also determine if your hearing loss is potentially caused by a more serious medical condition and if so, connect you with the appropriate care.
Additionally, because your hearing loss may change with time and require adjustments to your hearing aids, audiologists at AENT offer valuable ongoing support as you navigate your treatment. Bottom line: when you work with one of our audiologists, you have a partner for the entirety of your hearing loss journey. You are not on this journey alone!
An Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid May Be the Best Fit For You
Every patient is unique. While some patients prefer the customization and adaptability of a prescription hearing aid, others may find the situational use and lower cost of an over-the-counter more appropriate for their lifestyle. Regardless of which category best suits you, AENT audiologists are here to offer expert support and education. At AENT we offer a free consultation, with no obligation to purchase, called a Communication Needs Assessment. At this appointment we discuss potential insurance benefits, pricing and payment options, as well as how amplification can change your life and what is appropriate for your hearing loss. To schedule one of these educational consultations, please give us a call!
Call Albany ENT & Allergy Services at (518) 701-2085 for more information or to schedule an appointment.