If you think you might need a hearing aid, you may be wondering whether you should get an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid or a prescription hearing aid. The FDA recently ruled that OTC hearing aids will be made available to consumers with monitored regulations. While these devices may seem like the answer to your hearing loss issues, it’s important to consider the various factors that will influence your listening experience. When making a decision regarding your hearing aids, consider the following about OTC devices.

They May Not Be as Effective

One downside of OTC hearing aids is that they may not be as effective as prescription hearing aids. OTC devices are designed for individuals with self-perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Unfortunately, many individuals already have moderately progressed hearing loss by the time they realize they need to see a hearing instrument specialist. This means the amplification of OTC devices will not be strong enough to provide the listening experience you would benefit from by wearing prescription technology.

They Will Not Be Custom Fit

Another downside of OTC hearing aids is that they may not fit as well as prescription hearing aids. If your ear canal is a different size or shape than average, an OTC hearing aid may not stay in place or be comfortable to wear. Visiting a hearing instrument specialist for prescription hearing aids enables them to examine your ear and take custom molds if needed to ensure a comfortable fit.

You May Not Know How to Use Them Properly

If you don’t have a prescription hearing aid, you may not know how to use it properly. Without guidance from a professional, you may not get the most out of your OTC hearing aid. Hearing aids come with settings and sound profiles that should be tailored to your specific needs; however, OTC devices are not this advanced.

They May Not Last as Long

OTC hearing aids are often not as durable as prescription hearing aids. If you wear your OTC hearing aid all the time, it may need to be replaced more frequently than a prescription hearing aid.

They May Not Be Returnable

Some OTC hearing aids are not returnable. This means that if you buy an OTC hearing aid and it doesn’t work for you, you’re stuck with it. If your OTC hearing aid breaks or is lost, you may not be able to get a replacement. This can be a major inconvenience, especially if you rely on the hearing aid to communicate.

You May Need to See a Hearing Instrument Specialist Anyway

Even if you get an OTC hearing aid, you may still need to see a hearing instrument specialist for a professional evaluation. This is because OTC hearing aids are not a substitute for moderate-to-profound hearing loss. If you have any concerns about your hearing, you should see a hearing instrument specialist regardless of whether or not you have an OTC hearing aid.

You Could Cause More Harm to Your Hearing

Without an accurate test to determine the severity of your hearing loss, you won’t know how powerful you need your OTC devices to be. This means when adjusting the volume levels, you may end up with too much amplification, which could lead to a further decline or higher degree of hearing loss.

Should You Get an Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid?

Now that you know the pros and cons of OTC hearing aids, you may be wondering whether you should get one. The answer depends on your individual situation. If you have mild hearing loss, an OTC hearing aid may be a good option for you. However, if you have moderate-to-profound hearing loss, you’ll likely need a prescription hearing aid. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but it’s important to remember that this device will play a critical role in your overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Prescription hearing aids will enable you to meet with a hearing instrument specialist, have your hearing professionally evaluated, receive advice on how to select the best device for your needs and obtain all the follow-up care needed to maintain and get the most out of your technology.

To learn more about your hearing aid options, contact one of our friendly team members at Hart Hearing Care Centers and contact us today at Delafield: (262) 912-0608, Mequon: (262) 240-0288, New Berlin: (262) 782-3400 or Lake Geneva: (262) 475-0880.

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