What are over the counter (OTC) hearing aids?
OTC hearing aids are hearing aids that consumers can buy directly from a retail store (such as Bestbuy) without needing a prescription. As of October 2022, Congress passed a legislation that allowed OTC hearing aids to be available in traditional retail and drug stores.
Who is a good candidate for OTC hearing aids vs prescription hearing aids?
OTC hearing aids are best for those who are 18+ years old and have mild to moderate hearing loss. The person might ask others to repeat words often and have difficulty hearing in crowded spaces. A hearing test by a professional Audiologist needs to be completed in order to know the severity of the hearing loss. Some examples of people who are not good candidates for OTC hearing aids are those who are <18 years old, those who have hearing loss in only 1 ear, those who have ear pain or drainage, or those born with hearing loss.
What are the benefits and concerns associated with OTC hearing aids?
The primary benefit of OTC hearing aids is the lower cost and easy accessibility for the patient. However, the OTC hearing aids will not work well for everyone and there are multiple areas of concern for the success of them. The person needs to know whether or not they are good candidates for the OTC hearing aids and also how and when to use them correctly. As mentioned previously, there are many situations and medical conditions that they will not work well for.
How much will OTC hearing aids cost?
Approximately $1000 for one pair (2 hearing aids total).
Will my insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid cover OTC hearing aids?
Traditional Medicare and Medicaid do not cover hearing aids. Medicare Advantage plans may have some coverage. Most private insurance plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids, so you should check with your insurance carrier regarding coverage.
How can Montgomery County ENT Institute help?
We are always looking to provide the highest level of service to our patients. We will be offering OTC hearing aids at our office for those who are good candidates. To learn more, you will need to schedule an appointment. An up-to-date Audiogram (hearing test) might also be recommended prior to discussing hearing aids with our Audiologist.
Sources: ASHA, ENThealth.org
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