As technology evolves, more people are considering alternative routes to regular hearing aids and in particular over-the-counter (OTC).

While this a great first step in reducing the stigma associated with hearing loss, it presents a serious danger to those with an untreated hearing loss.

Even so that Attorney General Ken Paxton has warned Texans “to be cautious” about buying over-the-counter hearing aids.

Ken, among many others, is concerned of the risks associated with OTC hearing devices, particularly for those who have not had a hearing assessment.

Hearing aids are not just amplifiers, but they are also medical devices which work to treat your hearing loss over an extended period of time.

If you were to purchase a hearing aid, any medical professional would recommend you have a hearing assessment to accurately diagnose the degree of hearing loss you suffer with.

Your hearing is as unique as your fingerprint, so a one-size-fits-all rule certainly doesn’t apply here.

You’re On Your Own

Hearing loss is a medical condition that ranges from person to person.

Doctors of audiology and hearing care specialists have trained for many years to understand the intricacies of the ear. This makes them the most qualified specialists to effectively treat hearing loss.

Without properly visiting an audiologist, which is in the case of OTCs, you are restricting yourself from the expertise and knowledge of a professional who will be there to support you throughout. 

There are many touchpoints that are key to the success of your hearing journey, including the initial assessment, making the custom earmold impression, and the ongoing care and assistance.

So, Herein Lies the Problem…

Purchasing over-the-counter hearing aids is a simple process that doesn’t require the expertise of an audiologist.

This means that there is a huge risk that the hearing aids you purchase will be ineffective and likely dangerous to your hearing.

Yes, the initial price tag may seem alluring, but you are restricting yourself from the ongoing care, support, and guidance you will receive from a medical professional who is there 5 days a week.

OTC Hearing Aids Are Not Approved By The FDA

Many people are shocked to find out that OTC hearing aids are not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as they contain very low-quality amplifiers which do not help in any way to solve hearing loss.

Some devices are deceptively marketed to say that they are “registered” to imply the FDA has endorsed them. It is completely untrue.

Why Is It So Important For Hearing Aids To Be Tailored To The Individual? 

As hearing aids are something you wear for most of the day, you want to ensure that they can last you all day long without falling out or irritating your ears.

The most important thing is that they are safe, effective, and comfortable.

When you purchase OTC hearing aids, the responsibility is in your hands, as they are not properly fitted by an audiologist.

This can result in poor amplification of sound or poor programming, which may even make your hearing loss issues worse.

They may even fall out from time to time, as they are not custom fit to the grooves of your ears like hearing aids are.

So, What Should Texans Do?

If you’re concerned about your hearing, then the first step is to schedule a hearing assessment with one of our experts.

At your assessment, your doctor will be able to clearly identify any problems and advise you on what to do next.

While OTC hearing aids may seem like the more convenient and cheaper option, you are only delaying treating your hearing loss and causing more issues further down the line.

As per Attorney General Ken Paxton’s plea, and indeed ours at Clarity Hearing, we strongly encourage you to consider your other options, if not avoid this, as your hearing health is too important to take any shortcuts.

In Summary, Remember These Tips When Purchasing A Hearing Aid:

  1. Get a hearing assessment. It’s low-cost and high value, especially when everything else that follows is determined by the results.
  2. Remember that OTC hearing aids are not FDA APPROVED.
  3. Before purchasing, research the seller with the Better Business Bureau. Read online reviews and endorsements with caution unless you know and trust the source.

At Clarity Hearing, we have a personal duty to serve the residents of the Woodlands, Conroe, Cypress, Tomball, and Wharton areas to focus on your hearing health.

This has earned us a reputation as the most trusted hearing specialists in the region.

If you’d like to know more about anything in this article, or simply want guidance with your hearing, then please know that we are happy to help. Just get in touch by clicking here.

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Dr. Scott Marquardt - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Clarity Hearing

Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.