Are over-the-counter (OTC) Hearing Aids Right for Me?

August 27, 2018 0
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If you pay attention to the hearing health industry, you’ll already know about new versions of OTC hearing aids. But, are they right for you? We did the research, now you can decide for yourself. Indiana University published a study in the March, 2018 issue of American Journal of Audiology. Over this six-week period, 154 adults aged 55 to 79 with a variation of mild to moderate hearing loss were observed.

The six-week study compared results from three groups of patients. Group one all received a hearing aid from an audiologist and included audiology services and support. Group two were issued pre-programmed, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids of the same quality as group one. The hearing aid technology in group one and group two are nearly identical. The only difference between these two groups is the audiologist fitting and support provided to group one. Finally, group three served as the control group receiving a professional hearing aid fitting but the hearing aids had no amplification within the hearing aid itself. Group three is the placebo group in this study. Throughout the study Indiana University researchers compared results of all three test subject groups, including user satisfaction and overall usage of the hearing aids throughout the six-week period.

In reviewing the study results, researchers found that group one (the Audiologist group) and group two (the OTC group) both benefited from wearing hearing aids throughout the course of the six-week period. Researchers from the study also found this information confirmed that hearing aids do provide significant benefit to older adults.  Additionally, the OTC group reported feeling less satisfaction with the hearing aids overall and said they would be less likely to purchase them. According to the Indiana Study press release, approximately 55 percent of the OTC group participants said they were likely to purchase their hearing aids. This compared to a whopping 81 percent of the audiologist group participants who reported they would purchase the hearing aids. When the OTC group was offered hearing aids with support and proper fitting from an audiologist, satisfaction significantly increased for participants in this group.

As part of the hearing rehabilitation process, hearing counseling and proper hearing aid fittings can make the difference between a new and welcomed hearing change, or it can feel like an expensive disappointment. “This is why audiologists who are concerned that OTC hearing aids will put them out of business should take comfort in the study’s findings about the benefits of best practices in audiology” according to a review of the Indiana study by AARP,  “If audiologists get behind OTC hearing aids, it could mean hundreds of thousands more patients needing their services.” The common good here is offering hearing help to people in need and being able to help those people with hearing loss realize there is hope, help and technology out there for them.

Are you wondering if hearing aids are right for you?  Contact Physicians Hearing Solutions today for your free, no-obligation hearing exam. Once your exam is complete, a hearing health professional will counsel you on your hearing exam results, help you establish a hearing plan and help make that plan a reality for you. We are only a phone call away: (401) 921-0181 or reach us online at www.PHSDOCS.com.

 


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