Hearing loss is an issue that affects millions of Americans, one that doesn’t discriminate based on age, health, or other factors. Thankfully, audiology technology has created a wide range of professionally-provided hearing loss solutions, including an extensive variety of hearing aids. As new advancements in technology and innovation help introduce new options for hearing aids, it’s certain that the market will continue to grow and expand. However, recent government legislation is slated to dramatically shift the way you shop for hearing aids – and not necessarily for the better.
What is the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act?
Officially signed into legislation in August 2017, the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act was part of a larger bill called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2430). This new measure legalizes the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, which was previously banned by the FDA. While you may have seen devices referred to as “personal sound amplifiers” (PSAPs) for sale in years past, these low-tech options were not strictly regulated by the FDA, and not permitted to claim to improve hearing loss in any way.
This new legislation requires the FDA to determine how to regulate the new devices and market to protect consumer safety and health, but specific rules have yet to be determined. While it may seem beneficial to have an alternative to the traditional prescription hearing aids you would obtain from a hearing aid doctor, most experts agree that there are significant risks and issues to consider.
Experts Weigh in on the Issues with OTC Hearing Aids
In a recent statement issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), they addressed their position on to the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act:
ASHA has always maintained, and continues to maintain, that the best approach to addressing hearing loss is to seek the professional services of a licensed and certified audiologist… The emphasis continues to be on proper professional evaluation and treatment.
As addressed by the ASHA statement, one of the primary problems with over-the-counter hearing aids is the critical step missing from the process: A personal consultation with a professional audiologist. Not only is professional care important when diagnosing hearing loss and determining the best hearing solution, but it is also key in maintaining the quality of hearing provided by hearing aids. Follow-up care and programming is a service offered by most audiologists, providing you with an expert to adjust your hearing aids as your hearing loss changes or progresses over time. Over-the-counter hearing aids eliminate the professional audiologist, putting you at risk for selecting the incorrect device type and dealing with the frustration of poorly-performing hearing aids that are not custom-fitted to your ear.
Doctor-Prescribed, High-Quality Hearing Aids in Houston, TX
Your health, safety, and quality of life are worth more than the negligible convenience and savings that may be offered by over-the-counter hearing aids. Instead of wasting your money on lower-quality devices that aren’t specifically matched to your needs, work with a professional audiologist to guarantee a solution that works for you. Dr. Elly Pourasef is an experienced Houston audiologist that can provide you High-Quality Hearing Aids in Houston, TX, with a hearing loss solution that suits your hearing needs, lifestyle, budget, and more.
Here at Memorial Hearing, you can be confident that you’re investing in effective, properly-designed, High-Quality hearing aids in Houston, TX. that will restore your hearing loss and quality of life. Learn more about why doctor-prescribed hearing aids are the right choice and schedule your consultation by contacting Memorial Hearing today.
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