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Connecticut doctors say over-the-counter hearing aids will provide more affordable alternative

People with mild to moderate hearing loss will now have an easier time finding help. The Food and Drug Administration has put a rule into effect this week that makes some hearing aids available over the counter - without a prescription or doctor's visit.

News 12 Staff

Oct 18, 2022, 9:27 PM

Updated 614 days ago

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People with mild to moderate hearing loss will now have an easier time finding help. The Food and Drug Administration has put a rule into effect this week that makes some hearing aids available over the counter - without a prescription or doctor's visit.
"Fundamentally, it's a hearing aid. It has a receiver that hears the volume, and it has a speaker that amplifies the volume," said Yale Medicine Otologist Dr. Douglas Hildrew.
Hildrew says unlike medical-grade hearing aids, the over-the-counter versions won't be tailored to the user's hearing. However, he says they can cost up to 90% less out of pocket.
"It might be very challenging to afford something like $2,000 to $7,000 out of pocket, for a medical grade hearing aid," he said.
Peter Levy says even mild to moderate hearing loss can have a serious impact on your job and career.
"I've had hearing aids for probably nine years, 10 years," said Levy. "When I go to work in the city or I'm in a conference I have to have my hearing aids in. And even then, it's a challenge. But it at least equips me with a tool to help."
He says hearing aids made a huge difference in his life, and he's happy to hear the price barrier is getting lower for others.
"I think it's going to allow people that were formerly prevented from accessing this technology and this type of benefit to be able to use it and to benefit from it," said Levy.
Hildrew says over-the-counter hearing aids don't come with professional medical help and to be careful not to hurt your ears. But he says the new options will make things a lot clearer for a lot of patients.
"For a lot of people, it's really going to make a difference because they are just priced out of the medical-grade hearing aid option or don't have insurance," said Hildrew.
Doctors say hearing aids should never be turned up so high that they cause discomfort or any additional ringing in ears.


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