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Cheaper Over the Counter Hearing Aids Coming

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

August 22, 2022 — The FDA has issued a ruling that will allow people over 18 to purchase hearing aids without a clinical assessment. It is scheduled to go into effect by mid October, and the FDA estimates that consumers could save up to $2800 with these air conduction devices when sold in stores like Best Buy, CVS, or Walgreens. The goal with this initiative is to help prevent the depression, mental decline, and lack of socialization that can come with hearing loss.

The ruling applies to people with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you think you might be a candidate for these, now is the time to do your homework – there is a lot of complexity to figure out before you buy.

Can you benefit from a hearing aid?

The first issue is can you benefit from hearing aids. No hearing aid is perfect or will work well in all situations. People with very minor hearing loss might find they do not work as well as they thought, or they are so uncomfortable they are not worth the trouble.

Some of the signs you are ready for these devices are fairly obvious. Do you have to keep asking people what they said? As one of our baby boomer friends said, the most common conversation in our house is “What?” Do people complain that you have the volume too loud on your TV or radio? Do you have trouble hearing people on the phone? Do you feel left out of conversations because it is too hard to follow what others are saying? Have you had a hearing test that indicates you could benefit from one of these devices? If the answers to some of these questions are yes, you might be ready.

What type would you like

A variety of options and prices

There are a number of features in these devices that you might be interested in, in addition to how well you like their appearance.

Batteries. How long the batteries last is important, not only because they might be hard to change. Are they rechargeable or do you have to buy replacements? Some come in a case that recharges them.

Bluetooth. Devices with bluetooth capability will let you connect then to your telephone for calls, podcasts, etc.

App pairing. Some hearing aids are controlled on the device, and others by an app (which means you need your phone nearby).

Customer service. Is there some sort of guarantee or a contract you can buy in case you need support?

Trial period. In our opinion this is critical. You don’t want to plunk down some money and find they are uncomfortable or don’t work the way you hope they did. So find out the return policy before you buy.

Not the final solution

Before you buy it might be wise to schedule an appointment with your audiologist to get an assessment. It could be that your hearing loss is so extensive you might need to be professionally fitted with more expensive hearing aids. But if you do decide to buy an over the counter hearing aid, do your homework first.

Brands

Some of the companies making these air conduction hearing aids, worn outside the ear or just inside, include Signia, Widex, Starkey, Lively, and Eargo.

Comments? Are you someone who might be interested in buying one of these newly approved hearing aids? If you have a hearing aid already, are you happy with it? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on August 22nd, 2022

5 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this and although you say its time to do my homework on hearing aids, I feel you have given me a great cheat sheet. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m sure I will be someday. Helping my mother decide on the device was an ordeal and so I don’t look forward to it, although it was almost 10 years ago. But it is good to see from the article there are many more choices available today. I hope others write about their experiences in their search and what they chose (and do more of the homework for me).

    by Jem — August 22, 2022

  2. Thank You. Told I need to start wearing them. My Answer is “Why??” If it wasn’t HRH “The Princess” telling me I might listen.
    Now; it’s “The Daughter” telling me & I have learned to listen!!

    by BillyBogey — August 23, 2022

  3. I just got my second pair of hearing aids. I received my first set at age 53, so I’m younger than most folks who wear them. I had an injury to my ear that caused hearing loss. Let me tell you, your life will be so much more complete with them. You don’t realize how much you’re missing until you have them. Don’t let your vanity get in the way of a more complete life. I received the type that has an app for your phone, so i can listen to music while I’m walking my dog. If you have family or friends telling you that you need hearing aids, take their advice and check into them. What I like most about them is that I feel like I’m getting a part of my youth back. It’s like, OMG! i can hear again!

    by Brian — August 23, 2022

  4. I’ve been told I have moderate hearing loss and have had hearing aids for some 3 years now. i believe that the main cause was loud noises (like a firecracker). I’ve tried several models; some cheaper and some very expensive. None work adequately. Volume is not a problem – clarity in picking up conversations is the problem. Also having to replace batteries is a nuisance – the time a battery dies is never predictable and you must always plan on carrying spares unless you have rechargables. As volume is not a problem Bluetooth doesn’t help. Always insist on negotiating as long a trial period as you can. Good luck!

    by harry — August 24, 2022

  5. Hearing aids are great, but they do not work for everyone, as Harry can attest. NOTHING can duplicate the human ear. Hearing aids are not like glasses-putting on an aid does not immediately enable you to hear like you did when you were 20. There is quite a period of adjustment which can be painful. If your hearing loss is substantial, get tested and evaluated to see if you would be a candidate for a cochlear implant. I had my first pair of binaurals at age 32 and have purchased four pair in all, always chasing after something that would help me. At 60 I received a cochlear implant which has been life changing. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner, since I believe I could have advanced much further in my career had I been able to hear better.

    by Laurie — August 25, 2022

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