What Are Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Also called “OTCs” or “OTC hearing aids,” these devices are a new class of hearing instruments that are specific to the U.S., regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and approved only for those 18 and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.

How Do OTCs Differ from Traditional Hearing Technology?

  Unlike today’s prescriptive and customizable hearing aids fit by a licensed hearing care professional, OTCs are designed only for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. They might not align with one’s actual hearing loss, which could be greater than perceived.

What Will These Over-the-Counter Devices Cost?

  Prices may range from the hundreds to the low thousands. As with many products, the price will likely vary across manufacturers and other sellers.

What’s the Best Way to Know Whether OTCs Are Right for Me?

  Self-diagnosis can lead to under- or overtreatment of hearing loss, both of which can affect your health and quality of life. The best way to learn what’s happening with your hearing and which solution most effectively addresses your needs is to connect with a licensed hearing care provider.

Will I Get Help Choosing an OTC?

  It may depend on where you buy it. With the product expected to be available for self-selection at local drugstores, big-box retailers such as Best Buy, online, and elsewhere, a sales clerk will likely not have expertise in hearing health to guide you in your purchase.

What If I Go Forward with OTC Hearing Aids?

  It’s possible the OTCs you select may suffice in the present. Future needs, however, may require other solutions. Regular professional checkups can help you keep an eye on your hearing wellness plan and make any needed updates. Before purchasing an OTC, carefully read the reviews and know exactly what their return policy is.

Hearing problems can stem from excess noise, genetic history, earwax buildup, infection, or some other source that self-treating with OTCs may cause you to miss.  A hearing care professional can help you determine whether the OTC hearing aid is actually meeting your better-hearing goals.

  Dr. Izzy & his Staff are always available to answer most of your hearing health care questions. We can be reached at 732-818-3610 (Toms River/Whiting) or 609-978-8946 (Manahawkin) or visit us at www.gardenstatehearing.com.

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Dr. Kirsh has over 25 years of hearing care experience. Dr. Kirsh received a B.A. in Biopsychology from the University of Maryland, a Master’s of Education (Audiology) from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with area of specialization in Audiology from the Union Institute (The Graduate School). Dr. Kirsh completed a fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, has multiple publications, and has received numerous continuing education awards from both ASHA and AAA. Dr. Kirsh is currently a Founder and Director for Audigy Group and has previously served on the Sonus Network advisory board. Dr. Kirsh’s wife, Shira Kirsh, is a Speech-Language Pathologist in private practice at Alliance Speech & Hearing Center (Howell, N.J., 732-942-7220)-an affiliate of GSHBC. Dr. Kirsh has two beautiful children, Melanie and Joseph.