All Ears? Let’s Talk about OTC vs. Prescriptive Hearing Aids! 

The discussion about the release of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids has been making its presence in recent news and media. You may be wondering how these devices are different from the prescriptive hearing aids you receive from your audiologist. At The ENT Institute, we believe it’s important that our patients, as well as the general population, understand the differences. This education is not only for those with a known hearing loss, but also for those with a suspected hearing loss, and for the families and friends who may be helping them make a decision about better hearing. 

The main “buzz” about OTC hearing aids comes from the fact that they are generally available to the public for purchase at your local convenience store. This accessible and low-cost option can be important to some, especially when looking for a quick fix. What most people don’t realize is that a quick fix is not necessarily going to be a long-term solution to the difficulties they are experiencing. Hearing loss is not a “copy and paste” problem. It can’t be solved by a one-size-fits-all answer. The purchase of an OTC device does not require a hearing examination nor does it offer the opportunity for the purchaser to consult with an audiologist or hearing professional.

Prescriptive hearing aids have traditionally been the preferred solution to aiding hearing loss. These devices are an investment financially, but also an investment in improving quality of life. In working with an educated, certified hearing professional, a person is able to receive a comprehensive hearing evaluation followed by a thorough discussion of what their individual results mean in terms of daily living and formal recommendations. It’s these recommendations made by professionals that truly set prescriptive hearing aids apart from the others. These devices allow for the customization of size, model, technology, and most importantly, prescriptive programming. There are also options of additional features that a person may be needing to be the most successful in conversation. Follow up care is also an important part of receiving treatment, so again, establishing a relationship with a hearing professional is the first step to helping yourself or a loved one with hearing loss. 

The ENT Institute prides itself on our dedication to patient care. To follow up on this information and have a discussion about what may be the best fit for you or a loved one, we encourage you to visit one of our experts in the Hearing Center. Our team is licensed and trained to perform complete hearing evaluations and assist you through every step in your hearing journey.

The Hearing Center


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