There comes a point where hearing becomes a commodity. It is evident in how individuals from lower-income brackets cannot acquire hearing aids due to a number of reasons, two of which are lack of insurance and money to outright pay for hearing aids.
Fortunately, things are taking a turn for the better, with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issuing guidelines for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
What Is the Difference between Prescription and OTC Hearing Aids?
The issued guideline from the FDA has resulted in manufacturers producing OTC hearing aids for added accessibility. The question now is, how do OTC hearing aids differ from prescription hearing aids?
1. Hearing Aid Fit
At the core of any hearing aid is the fit, customized to the specific shape and size of your ear canal.
A hearing aid dispenser must take multiple ear impressions and often employs high-frequency sound waves to detect minute changes in ear shape and size to ensure a proper fit.
On the other hand, over-the-counter hearing aids don’t require the assistance of hearing specialists to find the right fit. OTC hearing aids will be self-fitting. Although easily acquired, OTC hearing aids may not provide the full range of hearing assistance that prescription hearing aids do.
Manufacturers fit prescription hearing aids with advanced technology, such as directional microphones, automatic feedback cancellation, fine-tuning controls, and Bluetooth technology.
These features extend prescription hearing aids’ functionality beyond the basic amplification of sound. It allows specific tuning of the frequency and directionality of sounds to curb particular hearing issues.
On the other hand, OTC hearing aids function to amplify sound and often come with a standard technology that addresses a variety of hearing issues.
Another noteworthy difference between the two is their price. Considering the features that come with prescription hearing aids, they’re more expensive, with some amounting to six-thousand dollars.
Meanwhile, OTC hearing aids come with basic functions. They’re also meant to make hearing aids more obtainable, so you can expect OTC hearing aids to be more affordable than their prescribed counterparts.
Of course, you’ll need to wait until OTC hearing aids come out to know the official average for these devices.
Why Should One Consider Prescription Hearing Aids?
Not everyone needs to spend thousands of dollars on prescription hearing aids. A basic over-the-counter device may be more than enough for those who need assistance when it comes to hearing.
However, some hearing issues require more advanced hearing assistance. For individuals with complicated hearing issues, prescription hearing aids provide a higher level of functionality to improve hearing abilities and reduce the risk of exacerbating hearing issues.
Prescription hearing aids also provide a better fit, paramount to their success. They are more customizable, allowing for the fine-tuning of specific frequencies to better fit your hearing needs.
If you want to increase your hearing ability, you can do it with a pair of hearing aids.
The key is to decide whether you need a prescription or an over-the-counter device. If you’re not sure which one is for you, consult a hearing specialist for a proper assessment.
Hear More Associates offers hearing tests in Massachusetts designed to determine your hearing needs and provide the best type of hearing assistance for your particular situation. Complete the form on our website and take a free hearing test today!