BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Come fall, Americans will be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription, which is expected to lower costs for the devices and make them more accessible.
So what do audiologists think about this? And is there anything you should know about if you plan on buying an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Dr. David Nelson of Audiology Service Associates joined the Wake Up! team Friday, and said he believes this is going to help so many people, but doesn’t want people bypassing a hearing test if they’re buying a hearing aid themselves.
“We’re not quite sure if they’re going to go through the proper medical testing and assessments prior to selecting (a hearing aid),” he said. “So they may miss some critical things that may be going on and not give notification to their physicians and get medical treatment.”
Dr. Nelson explained, in rare cases, hearing loss can be caused by serious health issues, like cancer.
“It’s not typical, but in a medical assessment point, you may see asymmetrical loss,” he said. “And that asymmetrical loss may actually point out a serious issue that could be a health hazard, such as tumor.”
A hearing test takes about 30-45 minutes, and will cost someone who’s uninsured about $45-75. Dr. Nelson said insurance can help pay for that test in some cases.
After the test is done, he said the results can be input into apps that are connected to the newer hearing aids on the market, which will help the device work best for you.
He said since about 2017, he’s noticed hearing aid prices have decreased, and the technology has improved greatly.
“I think it’s going to help so many people, but lets not forget about the importance of the hearing test.”