The term “prescription hearing aids” is the new term for hearing aids that have been programmed by a professional to a prescribed hearing loss. This is to differentiate them from the hearing aids that have become more readily available online and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
As of October 2021, OTC hearing aids are allowed to be sold as long as they fall in line with the FDA’s proposed regulations.
Now that these are available, people with a hearing loss might be tempted to buy them instead of prescription hearing aids, thinking that it will save them time and money. But this “quick fix” will not provide the same solution as a prescription-based treatment.
Let me explain.
Prescription Hearing Aids And Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids – The Key Differences
PRESCRIPTION HEARING AIDS
Based on a thorough, professional hearing test – at Cornerstone Audiology, your diagnostic hearing assessment will always be done by a doctor of audiology.
Customized – a customized hearing aid is programmed to the person’s unique hearing loss with specific fitting formulas based on the user’s experience with previous hearing solutions, goals, and lifestyle needs.
Through this prescription hearing aid, the patient receives appropriate amounts of volume (gain) at each specific frequency that was tested.
A long-term solution – prescription hearing aids are designed to provide help for the hearing loss for several years to come. As the patient becomes more accustomed to wearing the devices, or if the hearing loss were to change over time, devices may be adjusted and reprogrammed as needed.
Tech-smart – most prescription hearing aids are compatible with smartphones and able to be adjusted and supported remotely.
Instead of a more one-size-fits-all approach, prescription hearing aids are a tailored and customized solution for a specific hearing loss and lifestyle.
OVER-THE-COUNTER HEARING AIDS
No hearing test required – it is only recommended.
Standard sound programs – there is no unique programing for the user’s unique hearing ability of tones, volumes, or pitches.
One size fits all – there is no fitting for the person’s experience with previous hearing solutions, goals, and lifestyle needs.
Short term – they are designed for occasional use for those with only a mild to moderate hearing loss. They are not designed to be worn all day.
OTC hearing aids are not tailored or customized for any specific hearing loss and lifestyle.
Don’t Blindly Buy An OTC Hearing Aid. See An Audiologist First.
If you suspect a hearing loss, seeing a trusted doctor of audiology is always the best first step. After the initial evaluation, we’ll give you the best viable solutions for your precise hearing needs.
We say this because multiple studies have proven that people tend to underestimate their degree of hearing loss, so while they might think their hearing loss is mild and needs little to no treatment, it could actually be upper-end moderate.
Over-the-counter hearing aid devices are only approved by the FDA for a mild to moderate hearing loss, so an accurate diagnosis is particularly important to obtain before we suggest this route and a decision is made.
We’ve been called the most trusted team in West Texas by local physicians, and with five doctors of audiology on staff, we can speak to the validity of different over-the-counter and prescription hearing aids. We can even stock certain over-the-counter devices for patients to purchase, when appropriate.
Will An Online Hearing Test Get Me The Right OTC Hearing Aid?
Appropriate diagnosis of hearing loss is essential to the success of any type of hearing treatment plan. What you suspect is a hearing loss might have a simpler solution, and then no hearing device may be required at all.
Online hearing tests are less regulated and less effective and might give inaccurate results. In addition to a professional sound booth and numerous steps to a professional hearing evaluation, a trained provider’s visual inspection of your ear is also important for accurate diagnosis.
Still Confused About Your Options?
We have won the Best of the West Award for seven consecutive years, and as your trusted, local audiologists, we can help you be sure you are making a good decision that will address the root of the problem and equip you for years to come.