Over the counter hearing aid are cropping up all around us. To that effect, are you thinking of getting hearing aids to assist your everyday life, and yet are concerned about the exorbitant costs? Or, are you putting-off getting a hearing amplifier simply because you are avoiding going to the doctor or an audiologist for the requisite prescription to be obtained before getting one?
Fear not, for owing to some interesting turn of events, 2017 marked the time when the FDA decided to allow the market to be open for the people- via getting their hands on over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. These OTC hearing amplifier devices can now be obtained without the need of getting a prescription from a doctor or an audiologist.
Further, this also paved the way for the free market to jump on the bandwagon and open up better devices at affordable and competitive prices- for the retail consumer. What is more- this avenue opened the doors to people getting better healthcare solutions at cheaper rates. Not only are people now more enabled to get a suitable hearing aid for themselves- they are also able to get the device at attractive prices than before.
This becomes crucial because often times, hearing aids and amplifiers are considered to be ‘enhancements’ by the insurance companies and hence are not paid-for by them, to the user- leaving all the cost of the device to be borne by the person suffering from the loss of hearing.
Can you buy hearing aids off the shelf?
To answer this question simply- yes you can!
Any person over the age of 18 years can easily diagnose themselves and get a suitable hearing aid readily. And since getting an over-the-counter hearing amplifier does not require a prescription- it becomes hassle-free to get one.
Moreover, getting this device is a breeze- as simple as going to your local supermarket- or simply getting it with your usual shopping over websites and e-commerce stores.
There are several kinds of hearing solutions available- but are often dependent on the doctor or an audiologist to help from choosing the device to its fitting.
OTC devices are self-fitting, and you only need to get the device and plug it on your ear to use.
A major plus OTC hearing amplifiers have over the prescription hearing devices is the cost at which they are available to the person suffering from hearing loss. At a fraction of the cost from prescription devices, OTC hearing aids help you while being pocket friendly. This also helps you deal with rejection from insurance companies- as often hearing aids are not covered under the usual medical insurance.
In all, any adult person without complex ear issues, or severe hearing loss can safely use an OTC hearing amplifier and help improve upon their lifestyle.
Who should get over the counter (OTC) hearing aids?
Any person, generally recommended to be over 18 years of age- can buy and use the OTC hearing aids and amplifiers to remedy simple forms of hearing loss. The type of loss of hearing can be from mild to moderate, and can be remedied using such devices to a good extent.
Often, the self-perceived hearing loss can also be aided and alleviated using OTC hearing amplifiers.
However, you need to take a note here that OTC hearing devices can help you only to a certain extent- as they are not miracle-working machines which will guarantee the reversal of hearing loss.
Mild to moderate hearing loss, however, can be helped by using there devices- which are often available readily and at affordable rates.
You might want to consider getting the OTC hearing aids if you tick any of the points below:
- Difficulty in hearing high-pitched sounds. This is a common occurrence with old age and progressive hearing loss.
- Turning up the volume on your phone or television set frequently- to hear it better. This may be to the tune of the people around you complaining about the noise and loud volume all around.
- Sentences are heard but often not understood. A garbled version of the sound reaches your brain through your ears and you find yourself asking the speaker to repeat the words.
- Your peers, friends and family members have been hinting to you to get a hearing aid or a device to ease your hearing issues.
How to choose over the counter (OTC) hearing aids?
While a general rule of thumb is to gauge OTC hearing amplifiers as being adept to help mild to moderate hearing loss only. These troubles include difficulty in following conversations in noisy places and diminished volume of devices such as phones and TVs.
So, how can one determine whether to get an OTC hearing amplifier?
And if so, how can one choose the suitable hearing aid for themselves?
- Screening/Testing: Before you go on and purchase a new hearing aid online, or through a store, you shall need to determine the level of deafness you might be experiencing- in order to correctly know the kind of device to be used for that level. There are many screening tests available- online and in stores, to help you get a quick test for your hearing.These tests generally take a few minutes to conduct- and the results are available instantly. The result from such a test can help you determine whether the loss of hearing is in the mild to moderate category. For even more accuracy, you can consider visiting an audiologist to ensure a proper diagnosis of the issue with your hearing. Note that for severe hearing loss, the prescribed resolution would be to consult a doctor or an audiologist who can help you in a customized manner.
- With the test out of the way, and the verdict showing you in the mild-to-moderate range of hearing loss, you can then consider the frequency or manner of usage for the OTC hearing aid.How frequently are you going to wear the hearing aid? Where shall you be wearing the hearing amplifier- in the office, or church or at restaurants and other social events? Are you inclined to wear it the whole day- or are you going to use the hearing device only when necessary?
The answers to these questions shall help you determine how comfortable you are with wearing the hearing aids- and how sophisticated the device has to be in order for it to fulfill your needs from it.
- Noise cancellation: Depending on the kind of material used to make the device and the ear plugs- you shall find a difference in the noise and background sound suppressing ability of the hearing aid.Since the ear plug made of silicon fits inside your ear canal- you need something that does NOT make a complete seal over the ear canal to ensure that the natural, unaltered sound also reaches the ear- improving upon your perception and cognizance.
- Visibility: Another major thing to consider is the visibility of the machine when being used by the person- is it discreet and behind the ear to not seem bulky, or is it resting on top of the earlobe, looking like an accessory?Generally, people tend to use the hearing aid which fits well, and is not too bothersome when resting in-or over the ear.
- Cost, for money matters: Are you able to get a device suitable for you, according to your hearing needs, but the price seems a bit higher than you were expecting?Well, here’s where the free market comes to play. With multiple brands and companies vying to provide OTC hearing aids, it becomes a beneficial for the user to choose from the options according to their budget.
Verdict: Do I get the OTC hearing aids?
Hearing is one of the most primal instincts to humans- and its gradual loss can be disconcerting and troublesome for the person. Not only does hearing let you stay connected with the world and people around you, it also ensures that you are not excluded or isolated from your surroundings.
Loss of hearing, thus, hampers not only your day-to-day work, but also the social standing you have around you. Using hearing aids and amplifiers can hence help you to stay ahead of the diminishing hearing loss and be in better control of your vicinity.
Not only in terms of hearing, using hearing devices are linked to health benefits in a general way- by reducing stress and depression, reduced risk of falling over and also delaying the onslaught of age-induced diminishing cognitive strength.
The points listed here are valid reasons to consider and choose between the options available to you for your hearing needs. However, if the factor of cost to purchase such a device is the decisive focal point, then getting an over-the-counter hearing aid shall be of much enhancement to your quality of life.
Pairing it with your general well-being, and steps to ensure proper diet and exercise will help you clinch life as it comes your way- and you shall even hear it coming!