Researchers at JMU caution use of over-the-counter hearing aids
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has until August 2020 to release guidelines for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
According to Ayasakanta Rout, associate professor and program director of audiology for James Madison University (JMU), the devices will cost less than traditional hearing aids and will be available in big box stores.
James Madison University runs the only university-based laboratory in Virginia that studies hearing aids. Rout said OTC hearing aids will be more affordable, but consumers will need to be cautious.
"We are putting a lot of responsibility on the consumer, so I am eager to see how that will turn out," said Rout.
He said in order for patients to get OTC hearing aids, they will need to have an audio-gram performed by an audiologist or hearing health provider. People will then take their audio-gram to the store and find a hearing aid that matches their results.
"I think it is very important for the consumer or the patient to ask their audiologist or hearing health provider to recommend the right prescription," said Rout.
He said while this does make hearing aids more easily accessible, people should be very cautious when choosing a hearing aid, and make sure it fits their exact needs so it does not add to their hearing loss.