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Buyer Beware: Buying Hearing Aids from Retail Stores vs. Licensed Audiologists

Buying Hearing Aids from Retail Stores vs Licensed Audiologists - Hearing, Balance and Speech Center

Last year congress passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. That made it possible for adults to purchase FDA regulated hearing assistance devices from stores. However, the most important components are missing from that interaction: a hearing assessment and hearing aid fitting by a hearing professional or audiologist. This may make it seem like hearing aids are more easily accessible to more people; yet, without professional guidance, the wrong type of assistive hearing devices could cause more harm than good.

Even though hearing aids are now available over-the-counter and in retail stores, there are many reasons why getting them through a licensed audiologist is safer and better for your long term hearing health. Here are some differences you should understand about hearing aids vs. the types of hearing devices available from big box retail stores that are dispensed over-the-counter without the assistance of a hearing professional or audiologist.

  • A hearing professional or audiologist conducts a detailed hearing assessment to determine the exact type of hearing loss.
  • A hearing aid does not just make sound louder, it is a complex piece of technology.
  • Hearing aids are not one size fits all, and they need to be adjusted and calibrated for each person’s specific hearing needs.
  • Not all listening devices sold in retail stores will suit everyone’s type of hearing loss.
  • Some types of hearing loss require medical intervention, not hearing aids or listening devices.
  • Audiologists and hearing care professionals schedule follow up appointments to ensure that your hearing aids are fitting and working properly to help you hear optimally.
  • If an over-the-counter hearing aid from a retailer doesn’t help you hear better, you are still left subject to all of the downfalls of living with hearing loss.

Hearing, Balance, & Speech Center is Here to Help You with all Your Listening Needs

Have more questions about your hearing? Please contact us at Hearing, Balance, & Speech Center to speak with one of our hearing professionals or schedule an appointment at any one of our 6 convenient locations in Connecticut: Hamden, Waterbury, Norwalk, Wallingford, Branford, or Bristol. We are here to help you and take care of all your listening needs.

Research / Sources

  1. https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Buying-Hearing-Aids-On-Your-Own/
  2. https://www.hearingaids.com/hearing-aids-101/buying-hearing-aids/