You may have heard of OTCs, also known as over-the-counter hearing aids, which are becoming increasingly more popular in the industry.

Designed to treat those with mild to moderate hearing loss, they aim to amplify sounds in certain environments and mimic the hearing of someone with a normal range.

As of August 16, the Food and Administration gave the green light to over-the-counter hearing aids, allowing them to be purchased in your local store or online retailer.

This means that you don’t have to see a licensed professional or visit a clinic.

But, what’s the catch?

They Don’t Treat Hearing Loss

While they are great for someone who needs that extra “boost” when it comes to their hearing, they pose a real danger for those who have underlying hearing conditions.

As audiologists in the hearing healthcare industry, we spend a great deal of our time supporting patients and getting to the direct root cause of their hearing concerns.

We see our patients as lifelong partners, and we look forward to watching your progress over the months and seeing you shine as a result of our efforts.

Over-the-counter hearing aids cut out the middleman and supply a one-size-fits-all hearing aid without a proper examination or diagnosis.

The key difference is that OTCs lack fundamental structure and support to your hearing journey, disregarding annual check-ups and hearing aid repairs and maintenance, as well as many other basic touchpoints, which are key to the success of your hearing.

Reduction on Sound Quality

When you visit PHC, we perform a test called Real Ear Verification, which allows us to estimate the acoustics of your ear canal and examine how well your device is working through microphone measurements.

We’re measuring soft, medium, and loud speech during this test and making sure that all the speech frequencies are amplified to the amount that they need to be. It is a highly-skilled test and is one thing that you will never be able to receive over the counter.

If you’re choosing something that you want as a basic tool to assist you in specific environments, such as bird watching, then you may benefit from an over-the-counter hearing aid.

But if you’re looking for something which significantly makes a difference to your life and improves your overall hearing quality, then OTCs are not the answer.

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Real-Life Support

So, why should someone work with PHC instead of opting for an OTC?

Well, there are a few reasons. Although OTCs offer an easy way of accessing amplification devices and improved sound, they don’t compare to the annual check-ups, maintenance, and award-winning support you will receive over the course of your hearing healthcare journey.

In the event anything goes wrong with your device, we’re here five days a week.

One thing that separates audiologists from OTCs is that even though hearing aids are a big part of what we do, we’re also about treating the whole person and treating every aspect of their hearing health care.

It’s not just about fitting a hearing aid; we want to make sure that they’re on the right path to better hearing. Whether that’s hearing aids or a cochlear implant, we’re looking at all those aspects together.

Making the Right Decision for You

At the end of the day, hearing loss is a personal journey, and everyone follows a different path.

When it comes to treating hearing loss, the most important thing is to do your research and look into all available options. That way, you have the best chance of improving your hearing.

If you would like to know more about OTCs and hearing aids or simply want advice on the next steps to take, then you can get in touch with a member of our team here.

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Dr. Kalyn Bradford Au.D.

Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the director of hearing aid services here at Physician's Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician's Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a clinical audiologist, where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as director of hearing aid services, where she does an excellent job managing the audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.