OTC Hearing Aids

OTC Hearing Aids

OTC Hearing AidsOTC Hearing Aids


The President recently signed into law a bill that allows individuals with “mild-moderate” hearing loss to purchase hearing aids  without being seen by a hearing health care provider. While the law limits purchase for those under the age of 18, it will be difficult to police. What are your thoughts?

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Student 1:

According to Midey et al. (2022), 30 million Americans have bilateral hearing loss, but only about 30% of those over 70 who could benefit from hearing aids use them. Over the counter hearing aids recently became available for people over the age of 18 with mild to moderate hearing loss (De Sousa et al. 2022). There are some benefits to this. They are cheaper, they are easier to get, and you do not have to have a hearing evaluation to get them. More people with hearing loss may decide to try hearing aids because of the convenience and cost, but I believe that a hearing evaluation should still be completed.

OTC Hearing Aids


There are many drawbacks to over-the-counter hearing aids. One is that they do not come with the one-on-one instruction and adjustment that you get when purchasing hearing aids through an audiologist. You must fit and program them yourself. Another drawback to OTC hearing aids is that you can get them without first having a hearing evaluation. This could lead to serious problems going untreated. A third problem that may occur is that community Pharmacists will be expected to answer many questions about the hearing aids (Midey et al. 2022). If the pharmacist does not have proper knowledge or education about the hearing aids, people will be left with unanswered questions. Another drawback is that there are not yet enough studies to prove the effectiveness of OTC hearing aids (Sousa et al. 2022). This will come with time, but for now it is unknown if these devices are as effective as those available from hearing health providers.

In my opinion, OTC hearing aids are a good option, OTC hearing aids after having a hearing screening and a prescription are a better option, and hearing aids from a hearing health professional with ongoing care are the best option.

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