Buying hearing aids over the counter: What to consider before your purchase

Buying a hearing aid over the counter: What you need to know before making a purchase
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:02 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Tuesday, the FDA announced that hearing aids would be available over the counter for consumers with mild to moderate hearing loss.

There is an expected benefit in opening up the market for more competitors, likely lower prices. Before going to a retail store to make a purchase, doing your homework and understanding your needs for a hearing aid could benefit you.

Tuesday’s announcement was more than five years in the making.

“The FDA opens the door to quality, affordable hearing aids to consumers over the counter, and the operative word here is Over the counter,” said Xavier Beccerra, Secretary of the Department of Human Services, during a media event on August 16th.

Here in Sioux Falls, Jerrid Bruyer, Owner of Stanford hearing Aids, says the devices have already been on sale online for years.

People have been able to buy what’s called a “personal sound amplifier” for several years.

But now, those devices can officially be called hearing aids and will be regulated by the FDA.

“But I think in turn, it’s a good thing that the FDA stepped in to create some controls and mechanisms,” said Bruyer.

Bruyer is concerned that there could be physical reasons for hearing loss that will not be identified when buying a hearing aid from a retail store, something as simple as needing to have wax cleaned out of your ear to hear better.

“You run the risk of having a red flag existing without anybody noticing,” said Bruyer.

And while a top-of-the-line hearing aid will be programmed to respond to specific missing tones, he understands that not everyone can afford one, resulting in feeling isolated in conversations.

“We are a proponent of being able to have some solution for people that may not be able to afford hearing aids. The service on the end of it will make it effective or not effective. And when you cut that out, you run the risk of buying a device that’s just not suitable for you,” said Bruyer.

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