Even more concerning, research has shown untreated hearing loss is a risk factor for costly, life-altering health conditions, including dementia, depression, and falls with injury.
The availability of OTC products could contribute to an increased awareness of the importance of hearing care — and perhaps even boost the adoption of hearing aids — helping to fill the country’s hearing health care gap.
Additionally, because a prescription isn't required, OTC hearing aids may be available for purchase in retail locations and online, giving consumers a convenient way to access these devices. This added convenience can be especially important in rural areas or communities with limited access to hearing care providers. OTC hearing aids may also be perceived to cost less than prescription hearing aids, potentially encouraging more consumers to address their hearing loss. But consumers need to be aware of the drawbacks of OTC hearing aids.