Americans are addressing hearing loss increasingly more as FDA ruling establishes over-the-counter hearing aids

In August, the Food and Drug Administration enabled access to over-the-counter hearing aids, expanding access for millions of Americans. The FDA established an over-the-counter category for hearing aids for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

The increased accessibility has influenced people’s perceptions of hearing loss. Since over-the-counter hearing aids we're released, hearing care specialist, Jared Ritter at Beltone says hearing loss is a condition many are finally paying attention to.

“There’s about fifty million people with hearing loss right now and most of those don’t even think about it," said Ritter.

Now that hearings aids are on store shelves across the country for a smaller price tag, more people are thinking about their hearing.

Stores like Walmart, CVS and Best Buy sell models ranging from $200 to $1000 with comparable prescription and specialist models priced at $2000 to $8000 per pair. As more people flock to over-the-counter hearing aids, it's still important to get an evaluation to make sure you find a pair that fits your needs.

“There are some hearing losses that may not be ideal for hearing aids and could be a sign of another medical issue, so it’s good to still have a full, good hearing evaluation by a professional," said Ritter.

A lot of people may not get an evaluation until their hearing is at its worst, making conversations difficult; however, there are some warning signs for moderate to severe hearing loss you can look out for!

“The longer a person waits, the harder it could be to fit them. You start to lose word discrimination, so it could be more difficult to understand speech," said Ritter. “Most people wait an average of seven years from when they first notice problems before they get help”

Although aging is a factor for hearing loss, it can happen at any age. Other risk factors include injuries, certain medicines, disease and loud work environments.

Some signs to look out for in mild to moderate hearing loss include: Difficulty understanding women and children voices, missing words in a conversation and difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd.

If you experience any of these symptoms, Beltone recommends you visit a specialist like it's hearing care center which offers free, non-invasive hearing evaluations.

Share this article: