Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
The new law promises some aids will be more affordable in the future
For years, hearing loss customers with mild to moderate hearing loss have had no options for relief except to purchase hearing aids. Hearing aids start at about $1,500 each. Over-the-counter alternatives, such as personal sound amplifiers (known as PSAPs) priced at a range of 100.00 to 500.00 per pair.
There is no professional monitoring like USDA of these devices.
New legislation signed into law might even the playing field for consumers looking for effective and safe options that are more affordable.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, created an entirely new category of hearing instruments. Hearing helpers will be sold OTC but will be legally considered hearing aids, and aimed at those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Like PSAPs, they will be cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription aids.
I don’t believe that over-the-counter hearing aids will be an all-out win for consumers.
If you’re interested in trying a FDA-regulated, over-the-counter hearing aid, you won’t be able to do so just yet.
The FDA has three years to come up with rules for which products will fall into this new category, what their technical specs must be, and how they’ll be labeled and marketed.
Here’s, what you need to know about this law, the potential pros and cons of over-the-counter hearing aids, and—since it may be several years until we see these new products on the market—how to navigate the OTC options that are currently available.
Pros and Cons of OTC Hearing Aids
Whom will get the most out of this new category of hearing aids?
If you have mild to moderate hearing loss—difficulty deciphering a whisper or low conversation, or trouble keeping up with conversations in a noisy restaurant, for example. OTC hearing aids may be a great “starter device for you.
But, Those with more severe loss likely won’t benefit, in part because they may need more customization and amplification in specific ranges than an OTC hearing aid offering may be able to provide.
I do see people buying many sets of these OTC hearing aids and letting them end up in a drawer somewhere!
Not a good proposition….
Larry Bailey, Practice Manager