UVA Health doctor gives advice on over-the-counter hearing aids

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People can now purchase hearing aids over the counter.

The change went into effect Monday, October 17.

Experts at UVA Health believe this will save patients money by skipping expensive specialists and medical exams. Doctor Bradley Kesser with UVA Health says OTC hearing aids could allow people to save as much as $3,000 in exam costs.

“They don’t have to see an audiologist for even a hearing test, and the over-the-counter hearing aids themselves will be cheaper than the hearing aids that are purchased through a hearing aid center or through an audiologist,” Dr. Kesser said.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a doctor. Dr. Kesser says it is important to remember this is only for people with mild and moderate hearing loss.

“These are not patients with severe hearing loss that would benefit more from a professional opinion, and professional audiologist that would sell a more expensive or a more dedicated instrument for their hearing loss,” he said.

While Dr. Kesser says this is good news, overall, there are some things to be aware of: Such as, hearing aids that come from a specialist include a trial period. This isn’t the case for over the counter.

“I would absolutely say shop around, go online, and look at different hearing aid types,” the doctor said.

He adds that it is still a good idea to get checked by a doctor if hearing loss is a new issue for you.

“I would hate for someone to spend and invest the money for an over-the-counter hearing aid when the restoration or rehabilitation of their hearing could be done medically or could be done simply in the office,” Dr. Kesser said.

Or, more severe matters that need medical attention: “There are patients who may have some other condition that needs to be diagnosed or should be diagnosed: Chronic ear infection, or a benign growth on the hearing and balance nerve,” he said.

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