What Is an OTC Device?

by | May 19, 2021 | Hearing aids, Patient Resources, Technology

With May being Better Hearing and Speech Month, you might have read more about the OTC devices soon to come on the market as a quick fix for hearing loss.

These will be FDA regulated, and the final rules and regulations regarding their sale are still being drafted.

An OTC hearing device is a wearable hearing aid that will be bought “over the counter” without the input of a medical professional, and it’s fitted by you rather than by a hearing specialist.

These devices are not PSAPs (personal sound amplification products), which are available now.

In this post, we’ll discuss some reasons why people will choose them and the pros and cons of doing so.

Why Would Someone Choose an OTC Device?

People might buy these because they have noticed a degree of hearing loss — sounds are becoming less clear, people sound like they are mumbling, background noise seems to prevent them from hearing anything clearly, and they are starting to frustrate those around them by constantly asking them to speak up or repeat themselves.

They think they can fix it all with an OTC device. It makes sense to them that all they need is a cheap hearing aid and the problem is solved.

We understand this line of thinking, but sometimes the immediate cost doesn’t take long-term costs into consideration.

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Over-the-counter devices can help some people with a mild to moderate hearing loss, but they might not be the right hearing device for many kinds of hearing loss. And the cause of the hearing loss will be missed entirely, which could have serious consequences.

Despite this, many people will choose to buy an OTC device.

Pros and Cons of OTC Devices

Low cost A band-aid approach to treating hearing loss
No fitting appointment Not molded to exact ear shape
Instant purchase No ongoing hearing care or product support
Will have the same basic functions of today’s hearing aids Basic features only
Can work for mild to moderate hearing loss Not recommended for profound hearing loss
Might provide hearing assistance needed Will not address cause of hearing loss, which only an in-person check can find
Can amplify certain sounds Can amplify the wrong sounds, causing further hearing damage
Making these available might drive down the cost of hearing aids NA

Why Shouldn’t You Buy a Cheap OTC Device?

Because if you have a hearing loss, you need to see an audiologist.

An audiologist spends about eight years learning how to make sure that every aspect of your hearing health stays healthy and that any damage is caught quickly and treated.

If you don’t have us assess your hearing health properly, the damage to your hearing could continue.

It makes sense to give your hearing system the best care possible.

When we do a comprehensive hearing assessment, we not only check every aspect of your hearing ability regarding pitch, tone, and background noise, but we also do an extensive physical and observational check for any medical issues that might be causing it.

Symptoms that Might Indicate Your Hearing Loss is Due to a Medical Issue

While we don’t want to cause you any anxiety, please see an audiologist or ENT doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Clear fluid coming out of your ear or nose, or blood or pus
  • Headaches after a fall or for no reason
  • Feeling like something is stuck in your ear canal
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Tinnitus in one ear or crippling tinnitus

Whether you have an ear cyst or you’ve slipped on ice, we want to make sure that whatever is causing your or your loved one’s hearing loss is treated quickly and properly and that you stay physically healthy.

Reasons Why Our Lake Charles Residents Choose Us

There are many reasons why our patients choose to partner with our team of local hearing care partners at Acadian Hearing Services rather than buy an over-the-counter device.

Your hearing journey is unique to you, which is why we could never use a one-size-fits-all approach to anyone’s hearing.

We haven’t been in Lake Charles for more than 32 years to put a band-aid on your hearing loss.

We’re here to provide you with lifetime hearing care, which covers far more than just hearing devices.

There’s a huge difference between the two, and we’d love you to experience what full hearing care looks like.

Helping You Find the Best Hearing Device

Whether you are due for a hearing device upgrade or a loved one is experiencing a hearing loss, our team of hearing care experts and I at Acadian Hearing Services have the experience and expertise to discuss the best options for you.

Contact our team with any questions, or make an appointment for the Lake Charles location nearest you, to find out how we can enhance your hearing journey.

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Dr. Bridget B. Garrido, Au.D.

Dr. Garrido joined the Acadian Hearing & Speech Services team in 1994. She received her doctorate of audiology from Salus University in Elkins Park, PA, a master’s degree in communication disorders from LSU Medical Center in New Orleans, and an undergraduate degree from LSU Baton Rouge. Dr. Garrido is certified nationally from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and holds Louisiana state licensure.