As an audiologist, I’ve been a hearing healthcare provider for over 46 years. This last week I’ve seen a lot of hype about people saving thousands of dollars on hearing aids when they buy over the counter without a proper in person hearing test. But, what exactly are they buying?
First off, buying any hearing device without a proper in person exam is a mistake. Most insurances, including Medicare, cover the cost of an exam. Having shared that, I have no problem with people purchasing nonprescription hearing aids if they have the ability to return them if dissatisfied.
There are 6 major trusted brands of hearing aids and at this time none of them are manufacturing Over The Counter (OTC) hearing aids. People who buy OTC aids may save money but not on equivalent products. Most of the OTC aids sold online, in drug stores and big box stores are built in Asia. This limits the consumer’s’ ability to get service and replacement parts.
If these aids are cheap enough then they may be a good value for some people who suffer from only mild to moderate hearing loss. The biggest compromise they will make is lack of professional care and service after the purchase.
I support OTC hearing aids so long as the FDA protects the consumer. These videos may help guide those of you who want to shop for Over The Counter Hearing Aids.