In 2017, the United States Congress passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, which required the Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations regarding OTC hearing aids. In August 2022, the FDA issued a final rule that allows U.S. residents to purchase a hearing aid directly from any retailer without a prescription.
While the act has led to cheaper and easier access to hearing aids, the results have been mixed, as limited settings and lack of customized fit can hinder a hearing aid’s ability to deliver expected results.
Since untreated (or undertreated) hearing loss is a serious issue, consulting an audiologist before purchasing a hearing aid is the best path to take. Here are just a few reasons why.
Knowledge and Experience
Hearing health is a complex topic, and hearing specialists require years of education and training to become proficient in the field.
Audiologists are healthcare professionals who have advanced degrees and extensive experience treating hearing issues. They clearly understand the human ear, and they know how to uncover the causes of hearing loss and find solutions that can improve communication.
Thanks to the FDA, you can purchase over-the-counter hearing aids in Santa Monica. Still, it’s unlikely that an in-store employee will have the expertise you need to get the maximum benefits from your hearing devices.
When you consult with an audiologist, you can rest assured that you’ll receive expert care from a professional hearing specialist who has the knowledge needed to treat your condition.
Every Ear Is Unique
Like many other medical conditions, hearing loss has varying stages and degrees. While very mild hearing loss can be undetectable, severe hearing loss can significantly impact your life and ability to communicate.
Despite the differences in hearing loss conditions, OTC hearing aids are mass-produced. But when you purchase a hearing aid through an audiologist, they’ll offer unique solutions for your diagnosis. Your audiologist will also custom-fit your hearing aid to mold perfectly to your ear, ensuring the best possible results.
Identifying the Cause of Your Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has many possible origins: noise exposure, stress, illness, injury, ear abnormalities, chemicals, medication, and age-related deterioration.
Sometimes, hearing loss is temporary and doesn’t require a hearing aid prescription. In other cases, the best way to resolve hearing loss may include medical treatment for an underlying issue or a more invasive procedure.
An audiologist is qualified to identify the cause of your hearing loss and recommend the best treatment based on their specialized knowledge. Purchasing non-prescription hearing aids from retailers won’t allow you to understand how your hearing loss occurred, which could mean missing out on the most effective solutions.
Support as You Adjust to Your Hearing Aids
Obtaining a hearing aid is not a one-time purchase. Your hearing aid needs to be custom-fit and tailored to your needs. Additionally, you might receive an initial diagnosis of moderate hearing loss that becomes more profound over time, which means that even high-quality, customized hearing aids must be adjusted.
Soon after you start to wear your hearing aid, you’ll follow up with an audiologist to discuss fit, comfort, and preliminary results. Your audiologist will also recommend tips for getting used to hearing aids and give you guidance when frustrations or discomfort arise.
If your hearing improves or worsens, your audiologist can alter the hearing aid settings to align with your current health condition and communication needs. If other solutions are needed down the line, you’ll receive timely consultation and treatment.
Compassionate Care from Arcade Hearing Aid Center
When it comes to hearing health, the patient-provider relationship is priceless. Hearing loss is not an easy problem to deal with, and it’s essential to have someone to help you learn to cope with your situation and understand each of your treatment options.
Instead of worrying whether your next step is the right one, consult with an audiologist in Santa Monica, CA, who can conduct diagnostic testing, uncover the underlying cause of your hearing loss, and present a viable solution. Call Arcade Hearing Aid Center for help with your hearing aid selection as you navigate your communication needs.