Local hearing expert shares concerns for over-the-counter hearing aids

Local hearing expert shares concerns for over-the-counter hearing aids
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:41 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Anyone with mild-to-moderate hearing loss can now buy hearing aid devices online or in-store without a prescription.

A big factor with over-the-counter hearing aids now available is the price tag. Hearing aids can cost more than $1,000 per ear. With over-the-counter hearing aids now available, those who have a tight schedule and need hearing aids won’t have to visit a hearing health professional and have a custom fitting, which will help ease the cost and save time.

In the U.S., a high number of people have hearing loss, but only a small portion of people use a hearing aid. Experts like Clell Hamm, owner of the Hamm Hearing Aid Center Doctors, say when people find out they have hearing loss, they often won’t go to a doctor for five to seven years to get an evaluation.

There are some benefits that come with over-the-counter hearing aids. Some people aren’t able to go to a doctor for a hearing evaluation, so over-the-counter hearing aids will be a more accessible option.

Although there are benefits to over-the-counter hearing aids, there are some areas that one may need to be cautious about.

“Someone tries to treat their own hearing loss and you know they don’t have the expertise or the skill set to do so and so here they go, hearing aids don’t work- these are terrible and then they put off getting help and then they are at risk for losing their speech understanding,” Hamm said.

Another downside is that while the price is lower, the hearing aids are not custom fit to your ear and could cause more hearing loss down the road.