Hearing loss is a severe condition that affects a wide range of people every day. Of the roughly 26.7 million Americans over the age of 50 with hearing disorders, only about 14% use hearing aids. Those numbers are even lower for younger people who suffer from early hearing loss.
Hearing aids have a reputation for being expensive devices that are only used in extreme cases of hearing loss. The truth is that many people can benefit from the help of a hearing aid.
With the finalization of the FDA's OTC Rule, the hearing aid market is anticipated to more accessible due to increased demand for over-the-counter (OTC) devices. With hearing devices becoming more accessible than ever, it’s essential to know the truth about affordable hearing aids and how they could benefit you.
Traditional Hearing Aids and Costs
A traditional medical hearing aid could set you back thousands of dollars. Most hearing aid manufacturers say their devices come with high costs due to the technology and research that goes into creating their products. Unfortunately, medical insurance may not always cover these devices, making access even more difficult.
Fortunately, OTC hearing aids are an affordable alternative for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss that they can self-identify based on FDA-provided simple questions related to daily functioning.
Facts About OTC Hearing Aids
Recently, the National Institutes of Health published a report detailing devices classified as OTC hearing aids and setting standards for manufacturing and sale, summing up the following findings from the FDA standards for testing, manufacturing, and sale.
OTC hearing aids can provide functional amplification for mild to moderate hearing loss
OTC hearing aids apply the same technology as traditional devices
Users can still control and customize volume settings using OTC hearing aids
Users can buy directly from the manufacturer without a prescription or audiologist fitting For individuals experiencing early hearing loss and those who cannot afford the high costs of an audiologist, OTC hearing aids may be the perfect solution, providing the same results as a more expensive, traditional model.
Affordable Hearing Aid Use: The Bottom Line
As affordable hearing aid devices continue to hit the market, awareness, and transparency about their benefits will likely encourage more individuals to address their hearing loss sooner than later.
While people may associate the high cost of a product with its inherent quality, in the medical market, a less expensive product may work just as well. In fact, OTC devices provide the same essential functions as traditional hearing aids at a fraction of the price.