aOn October 17, FDA-approved hearing aids became available without a prescription for the first time, potentially thousands of dollars less than prescription hearing aids. Many experts hope that opening the market will stimulate the creation of new and innovative devices, reduce costs, and encourage the use of hearing aids in a country where there are few people. part From Elderly people with hearing impairment Use of hearing aids.
What do these expanded options mean for people considering buying an earbud? For now, experts say there’s still a lot we don’t know – including what devices will be announced in the coming months and how much price volatility will be in the new market. However, over-the-counter hearing aids can make a huge difference in your life if you have mild or moderate hearing loss. Here’s what you need to know.
When will over-the-counter hearing aids be available in stores?
The first over-the-counter hearing aids are available online and in person at some stores, including drugstores like Walgreens, starting this week.
Walmart announce On October 17, the hearing aids will be available on its website, at Walmart Vision centers in select states (although the company plans to eventually offer these services nationwide) and at more than 400 Sam’s Club Hearing Aid centers.
More stores are expected to announce that they will carry over-the-counter hearing aids in the coming weeks. Best Buy, for example, announce On October 17, listening centers will open in 300 stores by the end of the month. Best Buy customers can also use our online hearing assessment tool and purchase their products online.
Should I buy an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Over-the-counter hearing aids are intended for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, so the first step is to determine if you qualify for one.
People with mild or moderate hearing loss tend to have difficulty hearing when talking with people in a group or when there is background noise, according to the American Hearing Loss Association. There is another sign that you need to turn up the volume on the TV or phone. The most severe hearing loss signal you find difficult to hear when you are having a one-on-one conversation with someone in a quiet environment. For further guidance, the American Hearing Loss Association has a Useful checklist of possible signs.
An audiologist can help you determine your level of hearing loss, says Nicholas Reed, an audiologist at Johns Hopkins University. These tests, unlike hearing aid fittings, are usually covered by insurance. Other tests are available through apps, including Sonic Cloud. Hearing tests can be helpful, Reed says, because people tend to be poor at sensing how much their hearing has changed. “Hearing loss happens very slowly, and really insidiously,” he says. “The truth is, your brain is good at not picking up on these kinds of changes.”
People who are more tech-savvy also may be better equipped to buy over-the-counter hearing aids, says Dr. Catherine Palmer, director of the Department of Hearing at the University of Pittsburgh, since the devices require repair to get them to the right level and levels. medical Center.
If you’re not, Reed suggests considering bringing your over-the-counter device to your audiologist for some help using it. “It’s easy to put yourself on the wrong path,” Reed says. “If you’re at all confused or not a high-tech expert, an audiologist can help.”
How much do over-the-counter hearing aids cost? What about prescription hearing aids?
The cost of hearing aids can vary greatly. Over-the-counter hearing aids can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands.
Prescription hearing aids typically cost a few thousand dollars on average per pair, According to the Food and Drug Administrationalthough this price is often bundled with other services, including the cost of having the device installed by an audiologist.
Does insurance cover over-the-counter hearing aids?
Medicare does not cover hearing aids or hearing aid formulations, although some Medicare Advantage plans offer some coverage. Some private insurance companies cover hearing aids, but not all. Check with your insurance provider to see if you are covered under your individual plan.
Are more expensive hearing aids always better than the cheapest?
More expensive hearing aids may come with specialized features, such as being smaller and having a smoother user experience, Reed says. However, now that over-the-counter hearing aids have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Reade says buyers can feel reassured that products are made to the standard, and that less expensive hearing aids should be able to meet Your basic needs if you have mild or mild hearing loss. If you’re not comfortable with technology, Reed says, you might be happier with a simpler (and less expensive) device. “There is almost no evidence that cost is associated with outcomes,” Reed says.
How do I choose an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Hearing is a bit like a “fingerprint,” Reed says. This means that hearing loss is slightly different for everyone – and hearing aids won’t work the same way for everyone.
Over-the-counter hearing aids come in two main types, Palmer says. The first is a self-contained device, which users typically adjust by connecting the device to an app on their smartphone, and then adjust by listening to sounds. To play the other type – called the simple modifier – users can manually control the volume and sometimes the bass and treble.
Palmer says it’s important to buy a device with a warranty so you can return it if the device doesn’t fit you or your lifestyle. “Until a person uses the device, they won’t know if it will meet their needs,” she says. Under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation, the packaging must state whether your device can be returned. Reed also suggests checking if the device comes with solid customer support, which can help you learn to use the device and address any issues.
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