Healthcare advocates across the nation are shocked at how few individuals need help with their hearing yet don’t utilize appropriate measures to address the issue. In many cases, it’s a lack of finances that prevents people from taking the proper steps to address their hearing impairments.
Imagine what it might be like for someone on a fixed income to have to spend thousands of dollars for hearing aids when they might think they are getting along just fine without them? This train of thought has led to the push for over-the-counter hearing aids and has even sparked legislation to make these devices more accessible to the masses. However, there are quite a few concerns that come up when talking about this heated issue.
Problems With Self-Diagnosis
Introducing over-the-counter hearing aids will first and foremost devalue the important knowledge and training of audiologists around the country. Instead of people trusting these individuals with their hearing concerns, people will start to buy an over-the-counter product because it’s seen as the cheaper and easier option.
Sadly, this scenario would be very similar to those who buy reading glasses from the pharmacy rather than visiting their eye doctor. When people essentially begin to self-diagnose their own ailments, it creates a real problem for potentially harmful issues to go undiscovered.
An Aid Is An Instrument
Just like in our glasses example, a hearing aid is and should be considered a medical device, not just something you buy off the shelf. There are an immense amount of types of hearing loss and various devices and methods that are used to treat certain conditions.
An over-the-counter hearing aid is an attempt to put a band-aid on each person’s hearing impairment and offer a one size fits all solution. When an individual purchases an aid from their pharmacy, they don’t get the benefit of a professional to fine tune the instrument either.
Fitting issues could be a common occurrence, as well as the clarity of sound that the aid provides. Various lifestyles require hearing aids to be equipped with specific settings, and people will lose out on this chance for a customized solution.
Stifling New Technology
One of the great things about the hearing aid market is that companies are constantly coming out with devices that offer amazing benefits. From Bluetooth connectivity to aids that are nearly invisible, patients with hearing loss get to choose what features work best for them.
Over-the-counter hearing aids, on the other hand, take the approach of mass manufacturing and offer only the basic essentials for a lower price. Sure, it brings a more affordable price tag for those who cannot afford other options, but it disincentivizes these companies to come out with new technology and products that could be truly revolutionary for their patients.
The Choice Is Yours
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss and need to find a solution, consider visiting your local hearing healthcare provider before choosing an over-the-counter option. Many offices offer payment plans or lines of credit that can help with the cost, and you’ll get the benefit of experienced and friendly care with a wide range of solutions to meet your needs.
If you had been diagnosed with hearing loss 20 years ago, you would have had only one choice: purchase hearing aids through your audiologist or