COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nearly 30 million Americans are suffering from some type of hearing loss, but only about one in five of them actually end up getting hearing aids. Now, there is a low cost, over the counter solution for them.
The FDA has cleared over the counter hearing aids, and many pharmacies like CVS offer these as an order ahead option for those with hearing loss. Audiologists and ENT’s say this will really change the game when it comes to prevention.
Over the counter hearing aids are designed for patients who have mild hearing loss, and may just need a little bit of a boost. Audiologists compare them to “reader” glasses which you can purchase at your local pharmacy.
Doctors say traditionally, patients experiencing mild hearing loss are hesitant to commit to hearing aids that are thousands of dollars. However by not getting treatment or being proactive, they’re actually making their hearing worse.
An over the counter option makes it cheaper for patients and more likely for them to commit to a hearing aid, as finances are typically a big reason they don’t.
“It’s a huge factor and I think that a lot of people have gone without over the years simply because they don’t have the financial resources to get the help that they need” said Dr. Pam Minard, an audiologist with Hearing Health Solutions.
While over the counter hearing aids are a great option for many, they are not a total fix. People should still see a doctor for guidance on what type of hearing aid to get.
“The entry level hearing aids that are over the counter are probably close to $800 and even if you’re going to spend $800, they should work!” said Dr. Steven Hirsch with Ohio ENT & Allergy Physicians.