OTC Hearing Aids are as Good as Traditional Prescription Hearing Aids and Here’s Why
The differences between OTC hearing aids and traditional prescription hearing aids are important. Patients that receive prescription hearing aids have had them specially programmed for them. This is based on the patient’s hearing test (audiogram). An over the counter hearing aid, on the other hand, cannot be programmed in the same fashion. Both are wearable sound-amplifying devices that look alike, with similar advanced technology.
So, what makes them different?
Traditional hearing aids are regulated by the FDA and require a medical prescription in order to purchase them. In contrast, OTC hearing aids are devices that do not need a prescription according to a 2009 circuit court ruling. They’re considered an “electronic product” and are not FDA regulated. Nevertheless, they are meant for patients who would benefit from sound amplification.
This is a distinction made by the FDA’s desire to regulate one but not the other.
So, what makes them similar? Many things…
OTC hearing aids not only look similar to traditional prescription hearing aids, but their internal components are the same too. The current major prescription hearing aid manufacturers just assemble hearing aids. They do not make the components that go into their devices. Several large companies making the parts also supply the same components to OTC hearing aid companies. In fact, there is no difference in quality.
Cheaper OTC hearing aids cannot be programmed after purchase. However, higher quality devices come pre-programmed from the manufacturers. The cheaper OTC hearing aids do not have this feature. Higher-quality devices don’t just amplify all sounds equally. The OTC hearing aid companies pre-program their devices to selectively amplify high tones over low frequencies. This is because 90-95% of people with mild to moderate hearing loss struggle to hear those high frequency sounds more so than the low.
Damage from loud noise
Some argue that over the counter hearing aids are not safe and may cause further damage to your hearing. High-end OTC hearing aids incorporate automatic gain controls. This limits amplification from reaching a level that will damage your hearing.
FDA approval and Registration
Traditional prescription hearing aid advocates continue to say that OTC hearing aids are not FDA approved-therefore they are not safe to wear…but are they? By a circuit court order, OTC hearing aids are not “medical devices” so they do not need to be FDA approved. Nor do they need to be dispensed by licensed prescription hearing aid dealers or certified audiologists. High-end OTC hearing aid manufacturers need to have their product FDA approved. Furthermore, over the counter hearing aids must also be annually registered to be sold in the USA. This includes the Otofonix Elite.
The explosion of OTC hearing aids in the consumer marketplace is causing a major transformation in the hearing aid industry. You can now purchase a high-end OTC hearing aid for as little as 10% of the cost of a big-name traditional prescription hearing aid. Equally important, the quality is virtually identical.
Our most satisfied customers are those who have previously owned an expensive, brand name traditional prescription hearing aid. We repeatedly hear claims that the sound quality of the Otofonix hearing aid is as good or better for 1/10 the cost.
If you feel that your hearing is beginning to impact your daily life, then talk to the friendly team at Otofonix today to discover how an Otofonix device can help you enjoy high-quality sound and restore your hearing confidence.
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