Considering Purchasing OTC Devices? Read This First…

06/08/2021 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources | 0 comments

Nowadays, there are more options for hearing aid technology than ever before.

With so many different devices now available online, it seems as though more people are considering purchasing online, rather than going through a typical clinic.

Before purchasing any type of technology, we would always encourage our patients to do their research – especially when it comes to OTCs.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about OTCs, including the benefits, cost, weaknesses, and the small print they don’t want you to know about.

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What is an OTC?

An OTC, also known as an over-the-counter hearing aid, is a type of device that you can purchase over-the-counter without having to visit a hearing health specialist.

Just recently, the FDA passed a law which helps to safeguard patients from damage by including important warnings and labels on the packing.

This helps to protect patients from the risks of overamplification and untreated hearing loss, encouraging them to see a healthcare professional where possible.

Easy Accessibility

Unlike hearing aids, OTCs do not require you to conduct a hearing assessment prior to purchase.

This makes them available to just about any adult who believes that they have a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. However, this poses a serious risk to individuals with an untreated hearing loss.

Any hearing healthcare specialist will tell you that the first thing you need to do before considering purchasing any type of hearing device is to get a hearing assessment.

Not only does it expertly examine the degree of your hearing loss, but it also helps us to gauge an understanding of what treatment would work best for you.

Simply buying an OTC without knowing anything about what type of hearing loss you suffer with will only leave you unsatisfied.

When you visit the Hearing Center, we like to talk through your family history, listening preferences, and lifestyle habits. This helps us to better understand you as a person and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

In some cases, it could be that you have a wax buildup or inflammation, which can be easily resolved in the clinic.

By purchasing an OTC without having a hearing assessment, you are simply putting a band-aid on the problem instead of treating it directly.

They Work to Amplify Sound

Typical over-the-counter hearing aids are purely amplifiers, as they work to increase the overall sound you hear.

This works great for people who need that extra volume in certain situations, such as bird watching, however, it doesn’t work well for people with a hearing loss.

For someone who suffers with a hearing loss, it is much more than an inability to hear. They need help with clarity, background noise, and so much more.

The hearing aid technology that is available nowadays employs an extensive range of functions and processing systems. Working together, they help to assist you in all environments, not just one.

If you’re looking for a silver bullet solution to fix your hearing loss, then OTCs are not the answer.

Hearing aids, on the other hand, are a great start.

Cheaper Alternative to Hearing Aids

So, how much do they cost?

Pricewise, the cost of OTCs varies. It can range anywhere between several hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars, depending on the sophistication of the device, the brand, and its features.

From our perspective, the idea of seeing more ear-level devices and hearing aids out in the general public, just like you would see for glasses, is a great move in the right direction.

As well as helping to break the taboo around hearing loss, OTCs can be a great entry-level and affordable option for those who are yet to purchase hearing aids or don’t have access to an audiologist.

If you’re looking to invest in an over-the-counter device, based on your own perceptions of hearing loss, it’s better to use that investment toward something that’s going to medically treat your hearing loss.

Leave Your Hearing in The Hands of Our Experts

Any type of awareness around hearing loss is always significant. While we wouldn’t recommend OTCs to everyone, the rise of hearing aid amplification products can only bring positive benefits.

Trusted by thousands of patients, we are recognized as a leading healthcare provider in Pensacola Bay and its surrounding areas. There is no one else better than our specialist team of audiologists to answer any of your questions or concerns.

If you’d like to know more about anything in this article, just know that we are more than happy to help. Just get in touch at 850.474.8328 (Pensacola) or 850.969.2327 (Gulf Breeze).





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Margaret Richards Au.D., CCC-A

Originally from Mobile, AL, Dr. Margaret Richards graduated with a bachelor’s of science in communication disorders from Auburn University in 2010 and obtained her doctorate of audiology from the University of South Alabama in 2014; in addition, she holds a certificate of clinical competence in audiology.
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