Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Better Hearing Institute Warns of Do-it-Yourself Hearing Care
The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is warning consumers of the inherent risks associated with purchasing over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all hearing aids instead of consulting a hearing healthcare professional. Hearing loss is sometimes the symptom of a serious underlying medical problem. All 50 states require that consumers use a credentialed hearing care professional to purchase hearing aids.
BHI also points out that hearing devices that are purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet without consultation of a hearing healthcare professional may result in the devices not being accurately customized to the specific hearing needs of the individual.
"Today's state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction," says Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s Executive Director. "The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere."
Extensive research shows that individualized hearing health assessments and fittings programmed specific to the needs of the hearing aid user provide the best chance for optimal hearing enhancement and customer satisfaction.
"The best advice BHI can give anyone purchasing a hearing aid is to find a state credentialed hearing healthcare professional and to communicate openly during the evaluation, fitting and trial period to increase the likelihood that you are receiving the best possible benefit from your hearing aids," says Kochkin. "It will make a tremendous difference in your ability to hear and in your quality of life."