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5 Reasons why you should see a Hearing Healthcare Professional to help with your hearing loss

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

Last year, the FDA approved over the counter hearing aids to hit the market in the United States. Over the counter hearing aids are widely known as the cheaper alternative to prescription hearing aids. They can be purchased online or in store, are self-fit, and follow a "one size fits all" model. While over the counter hearing aids are not currently approved in Canada, hearing healthcare professionals are anticipating their regulation in the years to come.

Arguably, the biggest barrier for accessing prescription hearing aids is the high financial cost that is associated with them. According to Hearing Institute Atlantic, a locally owned hearing health private practice in Nova Scotia, people can expect to pay roughly $1800-$2200 per ear. There's no doubt that is a lot of money.

With this in mind, it is clear why over the counter hearing aids are an attractive option to clients with hearing loss. But, despite the attractive price tag of over the counter models, you are better off going to see a hearing healthcare professional, such as an Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Practitioner (HIA) to help. Here's why:

1. Coaching and Support.

When you buy an over the counter hearing aid, whether that be online or in store, you receive no support for trouble shooting or questions. On average, it takes new hearing aid users several weeks to re-train their brain to hear the sounds they have been missing. If you get your hearing aids through an Audiologist or HIA, all follow up appointments are bundled in the cost of the hearing aids themselves. Your hearing healthcare professional is at your disposal to help you get the most out of your aids, and to answer any questions that you have on your journey.

2. How much money are you really saving?

As mentioned above, a prescription hearing aid typically ranges from $1800-$2200 per ear. According to the National Council on Aging, over the counter hearing aids cost approximately $800 USD per ear. Based on those numbers, it is clear that over the counter hearing aids are notably cheaper than prescription ones. However, $800 an ear is still very expensive. That's a lot of money to be spending on a product that you are not even sure will meet your needs.

3. Over the Counter Hearing Aids could actually be making your hearing worse.

Currently, hearing tests, prescriptions, and fitting appointments are not required for the use of over the counter hearing aids. Prescription hearing aids are programmed to your individual prescription, and are fit to give you the right amount of sound for the shape of your own ear. Without proper testing, prescription, and fitting methods, hearing aids can provide too much sound to your ear. This can actually cause noise induced hearing loss. Because over the counter hearing aids don't require any of those elements, they can put you at risk for noise induced hearing loss if they are providing you with too much sound.

4. Your hearing loss may be due to a condition that requires medical attention.

Several medical conditions can cause hearing loss that require medical attention. Examples of some conditions include: head injuries, viral infections, and genetic conditions. It is important to go see an Audiologist or Physician about your concerns to make sure that you do not require medical intervention. If your Audiologist suspects anything unusual, they will recommend you seek medical attention.

5. Licensing Boards.

There is big misconception that Audiologists who work in private practice are just trying to sell you a product. In reality, Audiologist's are licensed healthcare professionals who are at risk of losing their license to practice if they wrongfully prescribe hearing aids for someone who does not need them. If you don't need hearing aids, they will tell you exactly that.

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