Millions of Americans struggle with hearing loss every day. The Food and Drug Administration recognizes this and wants to make hearing aids more affordable for all. In August 2022, the agency ruled that hearing aids can now be sold over the counter. A person no longer needs a prescription to purchase one of these devices.
This means more people suffering from hearing loss will be able to access these devices
Where Can Hearing Aids Be Purchased?
As hearing aid costs make these devices unaffordable for many, this move will benefit countless individuals. They can head to their local big box store or pharmacy to buy hearing aids. The cost is significantly less than what they would pay if they obtained the same devices from a hearing specialist. However, there are certain things a person must know before purchasing one of these devices.
The Cause of the Hearing Loss
Every person should visit both an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat doctor before purchasing hearing aids over the counter. This ensures they know the cause of the hearing loss and can have any underlying conditions that contribute to the hearing loss addressed. A person might find they don’t need these devices because they have a medical condition that brings about hearing loss. Once this condition is treated, their normal hearing is restored.
The Benefits of Purchasing Hearing Aids Over the Counter
Individuals suffering from hearing loss know the high cost of hearing aids obtained using traditional methods. They find they must spend thousands of dollars to restore their hearing. In addition, they must see a specialist for adjustments to the hearing aids, and these visits add to the cost.
By allowing individuals to purchase hearing aids over the counter, government authorities believe more people will have access to these devices. They will begin using hearing aids earlier and can adjust to them with less difficulty. This is of great importance, as the hearing loss has been linked to many other serious physical and mental health conditions.
The Risks of Untreated Hearing Loss
A person might assume their hearing loss is simply an inconvenience. However, research shows a loss of hearing can bring about many serious health issues.
Hearing loss may lead to a faster rate of brain atrophy, according to Johns Hopkins’ expert Frank Lin. People with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia. As the hearing loss progresses, this risk increases significantly. However, this is only one of several concerns that comes with hearing loss.
A person who cannot hear clearly may avoid social situations. They can’t hear what is being said, so they avoid speaking with others as much as possible. This leads to social isolation, which may also increase a person’s risk of dementia.
Furthermore, people with untreated hearing loss are more at risk of balance issues. The ears pick up subtle clues that a person uses when walking. When they cannot detect these subtle clues, they become more at risk of falls.
These are only a few of several ways in which hearing loss impacts a person’s physical and mental health. There are many other dangers associated with hearing loss that people must be aware of.
Learn more about hearing aids, the cost of these devices, and where they may be purchased. Thanks to this change by the Food and Drug Administration, more people can now have access to these vital medical devices. As America’s population is aging, this is of great importance today, so every person should know all they can about hearing aids, their benefits, and more.