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A Closer Look at Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids: Improving Accessibility and Options

 3 min read

What are OTC Hearing Aids?

Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids are a groundbreaking addition to the world of hearing technology. These devices are specifically designed to assist adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and can soon be purchased directly without the need for a visit to a hearing health professional. OTC hearing aids operate by amplifying sounds, allowing individuals to better engage in daily activities and communicate effectively. Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)as medical devices, OTC hearing aids are distinct from traditional hearing aids fit by professionals and Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). Let's explore the differences and upcoming availability of OTC hearing aids.

Distinguishing Traditional Hearing Aids from OTC Hearing Aids:

Traditional hearing aids are advanced medical devices that leverage sophisticated technology to improve an individual's hearing capabilities. These aids are personalized to the wearer's specific hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget. Audiologists or licensed hearing care practitioners are responsible for fitting and customizing traditional hearing aids to provide optimal results.

Understanding PSAPs:

Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) are off-the-shelf electronic devices available over the counter. They are not intended for diagnosing or treating hearing loss but can provide additional amplification in certain listening situations for individuals with normal hearing.

Availability of OTC Hearing Aids:

Although OTC hearing aids are not currently available for purchase, they will soon be introduced to the market. Presently, hearing aids can only be obtained through hearing health professionals, such as audiologists, otolaryngologists, or licensed hearing care practitioners. The Federal Government authorized the OTC hearing aid category in 2017 and is in the process of finalizing regulations to make these devices accessible to the public in the coming year. OTC hearing aids aim to provide a more affordable, self-fitting alternative for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Are OTC Hearing Aids Available?

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids is a new category designed for individuals over 18 years old who perceive mild to moderate hearing loss. This category will enable consumers to purchase hearing aids at retailers and pharmacies without a prescription from a hearing care professional.  OTC hearing aids are  available, the FDA has approved them for sale. Soundwave has developed Sontro® OTC Hearing Aids—a customizable option utilizing AI-driven technology to identify areas requiring hearing improvement. These discreet and comfortable devices are Bluetooth enabled and FDA registered. Soundwave offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, along with free shipping, returns, and support.

Reasoning Behind OTC Hearing Aid Availability:

Hearing loss affects millions of people in the United States, potentially leading to isolation, depression, and other detrimental effects on quality of life. The FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, driven by the need to improve access to hearing aids, directed the FDA to establish the OTC hearing aid category for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. This shift in regulations aims to eliminate barriers and offer affordable solutions for those in need. Soundwave Hearing, with over 25 years of experience in the industry, is dedicated to providing effective hearing care solutions for the emerging OTC market.

Choosing the Right Hearing Aid:

Determining the most suitable hearing device depends on whether you have hearing loss and the level of sophistication, preferred fitting method, and budget you require. Soundwave Hearing offers an innovative approach to hearing care, including our patented 3-minute hearing test and a range of affordable, high-quality, and user-friendly hearing solutions. Our OTC hearing aids can currently be purchased online and provide advanced features and exceptional sound quality akin to higher-cost traditional hearing aids. We prioritize simplicity, affordability, and convenience to offer superior hearing care options.

Explore Soundwave Hearing today to learn more about our Self-Fitting OTC Hearing Aids and services!