Dear Avalon family,

On October 17, 2022, an FDA ruling made over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids legal to buy without a prescription. You’ll be able to buy hearing aids off the shelf without even having your hearing tested.

I do not have a crystal ball! And I want to make a prediction.

| Hearing Aid Center
Years ago, I worked for the general manager of a large hearing aid manufacturer. He used to ask me what I thought about a certain issue or topic. Then, he would do complex marketing research which took time and money. Most of the time, my opinion or sense of what was happening would agree with the results of the research. He stopped doing all of the research and would just come to me.

Again, I do NOT have a crystal ball. These are my opinions.

  1. Increase Access – Over-the-counter hearing aids are going to open up the marketplace. A lot.
  2. Raise Awareness – OTC hearing aids are going to raise awareness of hearing loss in the general public. Hearing loss is very misunderstood by so many people.
  3. Normalize Hearing Loss – OTC hearing aids are going to normalize hearing loss. The stigma of hearing loss may be reduced.
  4. Improve Affordability – For people who truly cannot afford hearing aids, getting OTC hearing aids is so much better than not having any hearing help at all.

These are all good things.

| Hearing Aid Center

Here are the not-so-good things…

  1. Confusion – Over-the-counter hearing aids are going to confuse people who need hearing help. Why would they pay several thousand dollars when they can buy hearing aids for under one thousand dollars. OTC aids will range in price from $200 to $3,000 for a pair.
  2. Get Rich Schemes – Several new companies are entering the market to ‘make their millions’ and they are more than likely to be interested in making money, not helping people truly improve the quality of their lives by addressing their hearing loss.
  3. Loss of Precision – Most OTC hearing aids will need to be paired with a smartphone in order to make adjustments for one’s hearing loss. Those adjustments will be more general. They will not be nearly as precise as customized digital hearing instruments.
  4. Poor Adjustments – Lots of people will purchase OTC hearing aids, and get confused and discouraged when trying to fit themselves. Not only will they have to adjust them, but they will have to physically fit their ears and be comfortable.
  5. Getting Help When You Need It – It is going to be challenging to troubleshoot problems with OTC hearing aids. Are they clogged with wax or are they electronically defective?

Hearing aids will once again get a bad reputation

I feel sad and concerned. It took decades for hearing aids to finally be accepted because they really are amazing devices when properly fit by a competent AND caring hearing care provider.  And follow-up care is included.

There’s going to be a lot more negative talk about hearing aids

It is human nature that we talk about what is wrong more than what is right.  People are seven times more likely to talk about the negative things in life than the positive things in life.

| Hearing Aid Center

Food for thought

Do you remember when your eyesight started to change?  It got harder to read the small print. What most of us did was go and buy some CHEATER glasses!  We spent $10-$20. We fiddled with and persevered with all those CHEATERS.  Some of us even had CHEATERS in every room in the house, in our car, and in our purse!

Then, one day, we gave up and went to a reputable ophthalmologist or optometrist and were fitted with prescription glasses that eventually became part of us.

I believe that this will also happen for a lot of people who choose the OTC hearing aid route for their hearing care.  They’ll spend hundreds of dollars, get frustrated, and then, finally come to a place like Avalon Hearing Aid Centers!

Next week I will talk some more about OTC hearing aids so you can put more positive conversations about hearing care and hearing aids out into our world!  Will you help me?

| Hearing Aid Center
Yours for CONNECTED Hearing & Living,

| Hearing Aid Center

💙 Betty Vosters-Kemp, BC-HIS
Owner, Avalon Hearing Aid Centers, Inc.
Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist