Have you heard of the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act of 2017? The law, which authorizes a new class of FDA-regulated hearing devices, will eventually bring more self-treating options to the market for those 18 and older with self-perceived hearing loss. Self-treating hearing loss, however, can do more harm than good. Here’s what to know:
What does the OTC law do?
The legislation, part of the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act, will allow the retail sale of hearing aids for adults with self-perceived mild to moderate hearing loss — without the crucial involvement of an audiologist or medical doctor.
When will I see its impact?
OTC devices will not be an official category of legally available hearing devices in the U.S. — currently the classification doesn’t exist and is being created — until final federal regulations for safety, labeling, and manufacturing are established, a process that won’t be complete until late 2020 or 2021.
Aren’t OTC devices already available?
You may be thinking of personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), which are wearable electronic devices used for activities such as bird-watching or TV-viewing to make a sound louder — not to replace properly fit hearing aids.
They’re neither FDA approved nor recommended to treat actual hearing loss.
Will OTCs address my hearing needs?
They’ll address only mild to moderate hearing loss, and noise processing will be far less than a traditional hearing aid. Hearing loss is often an inner-ear problem, but PSAPs and OTCs can’t address other causes such as earwax buildup, a foreign object in the ear canal, or an ear infection.
Why choose provider-fit hearing aids instead?
Unlike PSAPs and OTCs, provider-fit hearing aids can address the full spectrum of hearing impairment from mild to profound. They’re already FDA approved, are recommended to treat hearing loss, and can adjust to environmental variables such as background noise as well as help your brain process sound.
It may seem convenient, but self-treating hearing loss can bring long-term consequences. Professional testing, programming, fitting, and follow-up can identify hearing difficulties and help
ensure the right solution for your needs. So don’t wait. For expert hearing help, contact our caring team today!
Professional testing, programming, fitting, and follow-up can identify hearing difficulties and help ensure the right solution for your needs. For expert hearing help, contact our team today!