What to know about over-the-counter hearing aids – NBC New York

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Consumers can now purchase hearing aids in stores and online without the intervention of an audiologist or physician.

The change follows a recent rule change by Congress that goes into effect in mid-October. The new ruling could save people hundreds or even thousands of dollars when buying hearing aids.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new category of products that consumers can buy directly, without consulting a healthcare professional. OTC hearing aids are intended to help adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. OTC hearing aids make sounds louder so adults with hearing loss are better able to listen, communicate and participate in everyday activities.

Additionally, over-the-counter hearing aids are regulated as medical devices by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There are a few questions to ask yourself before buying a new pair of hearing aids:

What is the return policy? Do they have replaceable or rechargeable batteries? Are they sweat or water resistant? Will they pair to your smartphone or Bluetooth?

The decision also standardizes the characteristics of hearing aids. For example, over-the-counter hearing aids must allow users to adjust the volume. Adjusting the volume might seem like an obvious feature, but there are plenty of choices available.

After trying several pairs, Judi Mayer, who has suffered from hearing loss for a few years, said, “I guess hearing loss affects your life because you miss a lot of things. You don’t realize what you’ve lost until suddenly you can hear it.

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