Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are on the rise and although they sound appealing, more people are starting to recognize the risks involved – the attorney general included.

Ken Paxton recently warned Texans of the risks of purchasing over-the-counter hearing aids, stating that users must “remain cautious.”

For a number of reasons, over-the-counter hearing aids have been known to cause many complications, particularly to those with an untreated hearing loss.

As they are purely just amplifiers, they are mainly targeted for those with a mild to moderate hearing loss and work to increase the overall sound around you.

If someone suffers from a hearing loss, they need that extra clarity to help them better understand certain situations, alongside many other factors.

Hearing aids don’t just increase sound, but they also work to medically treat hearing loss over a period of time.

Combined with the expertise of a medical professional, your audiologist will support you throughout your journey through follow-up visits and repairs.

The knowledge and support you receive from an audiologist doesn’t compare.

Here Lies The Problem…

Over-the-counter hearing aids are so easy to purchase that it cuts out the need to visit an audiologist or have a hearing assessment.

This means that serious problems can be overlooked and concealed. In some cases, it can make your issues worse!

It could be that it’s just a buildup of wax or debris in the eardrum, which can easily be removed at the clinic.

All of these types of issues will be looked at by an audiologist when you visit a hearing healthcare clinic and overlooked when you purchase over-the-counter.

OTC Hearing Aids Are Not Approved By The FDA

You might have seen some over-the-counter hearing aids marketed as “registered” when in fact they aren’t.

While traditional hearing aids are registered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over-the-counter hearing aids are not medical-grade devices and include very low amplifiers.

If in doubt, contact a medical professional.

We will be happy to conduct some research for you and get in touch with our external contacts in the industry to give you some extra clarity.

Why Is A Proper Fit Important?

The process of acquiring the correct hearing aid technology includes multiple steps such as the initial hearing assessment, the discussion with your audiologist, and the custom mold impression that’s made of your ears.

This is the difference between hearing well in some environments to hearing well in all types of environments.

In the case of an over-the-counter device, it’s not uncommon for it to be uncomfortable or fall out occasionally. As it is not unique to your ears, it is only sold in one size, which is supposed to fit all types of ears.

If you’re the type of person who takes a while to get used to new products, then expect to never be completely satisfied with an over-the-counter hearing aid.

What Should I Do?

Perhaps you’ve noticed a change in your hearing recently and you’re browsing the hearing aid options online.

Instead of opting for an instant “quick-fix,” consider investing your time into visiting a medical professional who is trained in audiology.

Ken Paxton, among many others, is aware of the risks associated, and neither of us want you to experience it for yourself.

First and foremost, contact an audiologist and have a hearing assessment. Here, they will be able to clearly identify any problems and give guidance on the next steps.

If In Doubt, Remember These Tips When Purchasing A Hearing Aid:

  1. Get a hearing assessment. It’s the best way to determine the degree of your hearing loss and is very low cost.
  2. Remember that OTC hearing aids are not FDA approved. Don’t be blinded by false information online.
  3. Consider researching the seller with the Better Business Bureau. You can find reviews and endorsements with caution ahead of making your purchase.

If you’d like to know more about hearing aids and the different options available, then you’re welcome to get in touch with us at 806-687-4327.

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Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Cornerstone Audiology

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.