Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids to Become Available in October

Pixabay / MGN

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The F.D.A. has announced a new federal rule, allowing hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter, without the need for a prescription from a medical professional.

Many hope this will make hearing aids more accessible and affordable to those with “perceived mild to moderate hearing impairments,” according to the F.D.A.’s press release.

“The average cost of a hearing aid in Pennsylvania, [is] right around $2700 for an essential one,” says Tina Schiefelbein, a Clinician at Erie’s Affordable Care Hearing Aide. “They can go up to $10,000 for the set. It depends on what you’re looking at and what you want to achieve.”

Schiefenbein does say there are programs to assist those who need a hearing aide, with her being involved in some programs.

However, some medical professionals, like Schiefelbein, are concerned about the long term effects this may have on those who don’t consult a doctor first.

“I could go to the store and get a pair of glasses, but they’re not gonna help me,” continued Schiefelbein. “We need a specialist to test you to see where you’re hearing loss is. And to make that device according to your hearing loss.”

Schiefelbein warned that many of these over-the-counter hearing aids amplify all sounds, which can cause more damage to your hearing than using a prescribed hearing aid. Prescribed hearing aids can amplify selective sounds, and some can even filter out background noise, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

The rule will go into effect in mid-October.


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