You already know prescription hearing aids are expensive, and the fact that Medicare doesn’t cover them. So you may be looking for an alternative that costs less and doesn’t require expensive Doctor visits.
This article will answer the question; “What are over the counter hearing aids?” and if they are right for you.
To start, over the counter hearing aids perform the same functions as prescription ones. However, due to the need among seniors and those with lower income to have easier access to hearing aids, a cheaper version of them has been developed to make them readily available over the counter.
These are also referred to as “Hearing Amplifiers“ or “Personal Sound Amplifiers” PSAP. Over the counter hearing devices are available to everyone in all parts of the country, and can be purchased online.
You can check out the Difference between a Hearing Aid and Hearing Amplifier here!
What are the Costs of Over the Counter Hearing Aid Devices?
The hearing aids that can be purchased over the counter will not be cheap, they will simply be less expensive than the aids that require a lot of medical testing and custom fitting.
Part of what makes hearing aids so expensive to get is that they require a lot of machines and different types of doctors to make sure that they are properly calibrated to fit your needs and molded to the ear that requires more support.
The ones that will be bought without a prescription are not supposed to have these kinds of hoops to jump through, so they will be much less expensive than what people are used to. The material and testing that goes into developing these hearing aids is still quite costly, even without being personally customized.
Research and development goes into each medical device on the marketing and until the companies that produce them are willing to do it for free, that is going to keep the costs of these types of devices from coming down to where every person can afford it without issue.
There are about 30 million Americans who suffer with some varying degree of hearing impairment, but only about one to three in ten adults over the age of 50 actually use them if they need to. The average hearing aid typically costs more than five thousand dollars without health insurance.
If you are wondering whether Medicare Covers Hearing Aids or Not, you can check out our article here!
There are direct-to-consumer hearing aids that require a patient to fit oneself. These companies that offer this typically have audiologists and other necessary medical professionals on their team to help people fit themselves remotely, but there can be a lot of challenges with doing that.
If you are able to afford this then it may be a better option than one that is completely self-fitting like the over-the-counter options. However, if you can’t, then you need to be cautious about how you proceed on to the next option. The most affordable hearing aids that are over-the-counter are less than $100, but they can go all the way up to $1000.
Reasons to Get an Over the Counter Hearing Aid
Keep in mind that the high quality aids can be just as effective as the customized hearing aids that you would get from your doctors, but some of them are so terrible in quality that they could make you feel like your hearing is worse than where you started from.
Cheaper Price: Price tag is not the only determining factor for quality, though. You need to read reviews and ask audiological professionals for their opinions when necessary. Your physician is there to provide answers to medical questions as well, so ask your family doctor for their professional recommendation.
More Convenient: The convenience of these hearing aids that you can get over the counter can feel priceless as well. You don’t need to sit in office after office having multiple follow-up exams or need to start from the beginning over and over until you find the perfect hearing aid.
Better Availability: With these, you will simply be able to pick them up and try them out on your own at home and be sure that there is a return policy for them so that you can drop it off and pick out another one if the first one does not work for your needs.
Who Can Use Over the Counter Hearing Aids?
Although living with this ailment and learning to cope with it may sound like the best option, that can cause other health concerns if it goes on for too long.
Older patients who are not accustomed to a hearing impairment will struggle to adjust their lives accordingly and that can make them feel isolated in their lives. This can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
One part of keeping the brain active is socializing and it forces your mind to continue practicing how to remember names or keep track of days of the week.
It may sound silly, but your brain is a muscle and it needs constant exercise in order to stay healthy and agile. Without that social exercise, then you run a higher risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment as you age.
Even though OTC hearing aids are available online, there is also an option to have custom-fitted aids.
Also keep in mind that not everyone who needs a hearing aid is completely deaf in the affected ear or ears. There are varying levels of needs, so it is a good idea to have an understanding of where your health needs are on that spectrum before you start shopping for a new hearing aid.
You don’t want to blow out what is left of your hearing ability in the ear that is impacted by using the wrong strength of hearing aid and you don’t want to frustrate yourself by getting something that is too weak to make an impact.
Find professionals who can help you decide and don’t be afraid to try more than one before landing on the hearing aid that could change your quality of life forever.