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Over-the-Counter vs Prescription Hearing Aids

As we all know, over time our hearing can get worse. Thankfully, today’s advancement in medicine and technology can help you.

Can you repeat that? Please speak louder, I can’t hear you. Poor hearing can be frustrating. Putting all your focus into hearing, and asking someone to repeat themselves or speak up can get tiring. As we all know, over time our hearing can get worse. Thankfully, today’s advancement in medicine and technology can help you.

In this article, we will discuss prescription and over-the-counter hearing aids.

Degrees of Hearing Loss

Mild: Difficulty hearing soft sounds

Moderate: Problems with hearing any speech at a normal speaking volume

Severe: Ability to hear only loud noises

Profound: Inability to hear any speech; only very loud sounds are audible to the hearer

Prescription vs Over-the-Counter

All hearing aids used require prescriptions. However, now there’s the option of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.

Prescription hearing aids are the traditional ones you get from your audiologist who diagnoses your hearing loss. The hearing aids are custom fit to your ears.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are devices sold online or in stores without an audiologist or a prescription. The hearing aids must meet FDA requirements but are not required to meet the needs of your ears.

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Prescription Hearing Aids

Hearing aids have three basic parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and speakers. The hearing aid receives sounds through a microphone, converts the sound waves to electrical signals, and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and sends them through the ear speakers. Hearing aids can help people hear in quiet and noisy environments.

Prescription hearing aids are for people with mild, moderate, severe, and profound hearing loss. A hearing exam is required to get prescription hearing aids. Also, prescription hearing aids require a fitting appointment. They are ordered by an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. The hearing professional will help you fit and adjust your new hearing aids at a follow-up appointment once the devices come in.

OTC Hearing Aids

Over-the-counter hearing aids are designed for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Without a hearing test, you won’t know whether or not you have hearing loss or to what degree. But you do not need a hearing exam to get OTC hearing aids. A fitting appointment is not required. Over-the-counter hearing aids can be found at pharmacies, stores, and online. Retailers such as CVS, Best Buy, and Walgreens sell OTC hearing aids.

There are several situations when OTC hearing aids shouldn’t be worn. These include drainage coming out of your ears, pain or pressure in your ears, hearing loss or ringing in one ear, a noticeable difference in hearing between ears, dizziness, or quickly worsening or fluctuating hearing loss.

Cost Differences

The average price of prescription hearing aids is $4,600 per pair. Some premium hearing aid models can cost up to $12,000. The total price covers the cost of the devices, the professional fitting, and follow-up treatment, as well as maintenance and troubleshooting visits for the life of the device.

Currently, the average cost of over-the-counter hearing aids is $1600 per pair, but because these are new devices, the average price of OTC hearing aids remains to be seen. They are expected to offer substantial savings compared with prescription versions. Government officials estimate Americans will save on average $2,800 a pair. Most private insurers and Medicare don’t cover over-the-counter hearing aids.

Benefits of Hearing Aids

Hearing loss shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed about. Especially as we get older, hearing can become more complex. The good news is wearing hearing aids can be a huge assistance in your daily living and quality of life.

Hearing aids improve your relationships

It is possible poor hearing can put a strain on relationships with your family and friends. Hearing loss makes communication harder and you’ll have to rely more on facial expressions and lip reading when you’re talking to someone. Using hearing aids will help you communicate better. You won’t have to interrupt as frequently to get clarification of what someone said or ask them to repeat their point.

Hearing aids improve your social life

Sadly, poor hearing can sometimes result in isolation. Because hearing is so difficult, some people withdraw and avoid getting help with their hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids can help you feel more comfortable in social gatherings and you’ll probably be more likely to initiate a conversation. This will help you maintain friendships as well as make new friends. It is also helpful to have a friend or family member who can help you and understands your hearing loss.

Hearing aids improve your mental health

Since poor hearing can sometimes result in isolation, your mental health is bound to be affected. Research shows that people who suffer from hearing loss have the potential to be more anxious and depressed. Hearing aids can give you a sense of security, and independence, and increase your self-esteem when you communicate with others. This can give you a better overall quality of life.

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Hearing aids increase your concentration

Wearing hearing aids can help your concentration. Concentrating and focusing is hard when you’re constantly trying to hear what someone is saying. Hearing aids can help your perception and the ability to notice and focus on audible details. They can also help you deal with distracting noises that may be a constant source of annoyance.

Hearing aids can give you more energy

Some people report that wearing hearing aids makes them feel more energetic. As we’ve already noted, hearing loss affects communication. Putting all your energy into hearing can be exhausting. However, wearing hearing aids and hearing better will allow you to put more energy into other things.

Hearing aids can help you do your job better

Hearing aids can help you do your job better. Again, your focus, concentration, and energy will be better when you can hear better. Hearing aids will help you better listen to instructions and catch other details you might otherwise miss. Wearing hearing aids will also help your communication with your co-workers and those you encounter throughout your day. You’ll be happier and so will everyone else around you.

Take The Next Step

Finally, hearing aids are the best option for correcting untreated hearing loss. As technology changes and advances, treatment and hearing aids can only improve. Don’t let even mild hearing impairment intimidate you. If needed, there are hearing aid options that will help improve your quality of life.

Katie Meyers is an SEO Specialist at SEO Design Chicago. Before joining the SEO Design Chicago team, she interned for them, as well as interned as a Content Writer at HZD Creates. Katie is from Washington State and has an AA and a Social Media Marketing Certificate.

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Your "not that regular" all-around gal, writing about anything, thus everything. "There's always more to discover... thus write about," she says in between - GASP! - puffs. And so that's what she does, exactly. Write, of course; not (just) puff.


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