Losing hearing later in life is difficult but getting the hearing aids you need is easier than ever. Hearing Aid technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years, allowing for some truly amazing ways to get great hearing aids.
How is this possible? A recent FDA ruling allowed for the sale of OTC hearing aids! That’s right, you no longer need prescription hearing aids if you are purchasing an FDA-approved device. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see an audiologist–in fact, seeing an audiologist is the most important step to take toward fixing your hearing.
Let’s take a look at how to get quickly set up with great hearing aids after your visit with an audiologist.
When to See an Audiologist
It may not be obvious to most people who suffer from gradual hearing loss when to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. Sometimes hearing loss is so gradual some people don’t even notice it has set in.
If you have a physical with your doctor, make sure to check in on your hearing. Even if you notice a decrease in the strength of your hearing, a visit to your physician should be the first step to take in non-emergency cases.
There are also some symptoms of hearing loss that must be addressed as quickly as possible if they persist for long periods of time. Symptoms that mean you should see an audiologist include:
- Persistent tinnitus (constant ‘ringing’ or ‘buzzing’ sounds)
- Inability to hear high-pitched voices in conversational settings
- Inability to hear high-pitched sounds (alarms, phones, timers, etc)
- Constantly asking people to repeat what they said because you can’t hear them clearly
These are common symptoms of hearing loss and should be checked by an audiologist if they are persistent.
What do Audiologists do for Hearing Loss?
Appointments with an audiologist are fairly straightforward. Barring serious or hazardous damage, the appointments primarily consist of questions and hearing tests.
The questions are important to answer as factually as possible. Things like work conditions (noises), other medical conditions, recent illnesses, and others can help audiologists know where to look.
Hearing tests are performed based on symptoms, observations, and using specific testing tools. Audiologists will use their medical tools and devices to test for things like sensitivity, fluid levels, blockages (earwax), and infections. After the questions and examination are over, the audiologist will provide their recommendations.
If hearing loss is the cause of your audio-related problems, hearing aids will most likely be recommended. Audiologists can recommend the type of hearing aids and the settings that should be used to provide optimal audio aid for your needs.
OTC Hearing Aids
The recent FDA ruling allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter has introduced some truly amazing features to the world of hearing aids. Kiosks will now be available at pharmacies that will allow patients to quickly get the hearing aids they need.
The OTC hearing aids aren’t bargain bin hearing aids either–all of the OTC hearing aids are FDA approved. This means that the quality of OTC hearing aids is more or less identical to that of traditional prescription-only devices.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of OTC hearing aids are the people who already use them. If a hearing aid breaks, you no longer have to suffer during a waiting period–just go to the pharmacy and get the type you need! In-store kiosks are designed to be easy to use, so patients will have no trouble getting the hearing aids they need.
OTC Hearing Aids FAQ
Here is a quick Q&A regarding some of the most asked questions about OTC hearing aids.
Are OTC Hearing Aids the Same Quality as Prescription Devices?
Yes! OTC hearing aids are manufactured by the same FDA-approved companies that made prescription-only aids.
Do I Choose my Model of OTC Hearing Aid?
Yes. Testing kiosks allow people to look at and test the device they want before purchasing. This means looking at the features, volume settings, comfort, and more. Choosing a great hearing aid has never been easier!
Are OTC Hearing Aids Expensive?
No. OTC hearing aids are much cheaper than prescription ones when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. Selling direct to consumers allows manufacturers to avoid dealing with insurance companies and other middlemen for their products. This allows cheaper pricing and better selection.
What are the Downsides of OTC Hearing Aids?
There really aren’t any outside of being unable to directly speak to your audiologist when you choose the pair you want. OTC hearing aids are FDA-approved and of the same quality as their prescription-only counterparts. The FDA approving hearing aids for OTC sales is a great thing for people who need them.
Do I have to wait for OTC Hearing Aids?
No! Perhaps the best thing introduced by hearing aids going OTC is the speed they will get to patients. No more waiting periods–go into a store, select the pair you want, and take them home with you.
Hearing Test Kiosks
Hearing Test Kiosks will be available at many pharmacies across the county after the FDA OTC hearing aid approval. These kiosks will be available for anyone to use in-store.
How Does a Hearing Test Kiosk Work?
Hearing Test Kiosks may differ based on the manufacturer, but the base functions will be similar. Each Hearing Test Kiosk will be full-automated with a user-friendly interface and the following features:
- An on-site hearing test (headphones)
- Immediate test results and steps to take (if necessary)
- If action is required, kiosks will suggest in-store steps to take
- Device recommendations (based on hearing test, if necessary)
- Appointment scheduling/locations for audiologists (if necessary)
Hearing Test Kiosks were designed for ease of use and convenience. The primary functions of the kiosks are to provide baseline hearing testing options and give people recommendations based on their needs.
Keep in mind that using the testing function of a Hearing Test Kiosk is not necessary to make a purchase. If you know what type of hearing aid you need, just speak to a clerk to purchase them.
Hearing Test Kiosks are also not meant to supersede your doctor or audiologist’s orders. These stations provide baseline tests and recommendations that will never be as personalized as those from a doctor.
Hearing Aids at Oswald’s Pharmacy
Oswald’s Pharmacy is proud to carry the first generation of OTC hearing aids made by RxEars. RxEars (Persona Medical) is an FDA-approved manufacturer of hearing aids and has been making them since 1967. RxEars hearing aids are made in one of the largest high-end independent hearing laboratories in the world.
Over 1 million hearing aids have been sold by RxEars–all from audiologist prescription orders. RxEars is not only backed by the oldest USA Hearing Aid Manufacturer of custom hearing devices, but is also guaranteed with our industry-leading service and 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!
The same hearing aid quality audiologists came to trust will now be sold via a hearing kiosk at Oswald’s Pharmacy. 4 types of RxEars hearing aids will be available at launch:
RxS Hearing Aids digital technology with noise reduction reduces background noise for clearer conversations in challenging environments like restaurants, receptions, lectures, churches, and more. Feedback and whistling is kept to a minimum through feedback control. You can set your RxS Hearing Aids to one of 4 pre-set volume levels.
Retail: $399.00 (pair)
The RxEars Rxi Hearing Aid is for those who want a device that is concealed in their ear canal. Depending on the size of your ear canal, this can be a perfectly hidden solution. The RxI is also equipped with a renowned background noise canceller. Once you start using this little device, your world will change with a new level of sound recognition.
Retail: $499.00 (single)
Rx4 Hearing Aids digital technology with adaptive noise control reduces background noise for clearer conversations in challenging environments like restaurants, receptions, lectures, churches, and more. Feedback and whistling are kept to a minimum through adaptive feedback control. You can set your Rx4 Hearing Aids to different situations with 4 pre-set volume levels or fine-tune the volume with more than 20 volume steps.
The Rx4 Hearing Aid also has a ‘Tele-coil’ mode that allows you to hear signals coming from compatible systems in theaters, auditoriums, cinemas, and telephones with clarity and detail. Hear everything with the RxEars Rx4 Hearing Aids!
Retail: $499.00 (single)
RxEars Rx8 Hearing Aid is RxEars’ cell phone-compatible Bluetooth listening device. These hearing aids easily amplify 25dB and help make those difficult sounds easier to hear. Using Bluetooth on your Android or iPhone, you can control the programs, set the tones to your liking, and store them in your device as well as your phone for recall.
The easy-to-use app, is equipped with quick program selections for restaurants, conversation, telephone, and automobiles, as well as tone controls for those users desiring the ability to perfectly tune their device with six bands of tone control.
Retail: $699.00 (single)
RxEars Hearing Aids at Oswald’s Pharmacy
We decided to carry RxEars because of their long reputation for excellence. The FDA decision to approve OTC hearing aids has led to hearing aids dropping in price significantly. Some models of prescription-only hearing aids cost almost $5,000 out of pocket! The top model of RxEars only costs $700 (and connects to Bluetooth and other signals).
The quality and pricing combined led us to check out a bunch of hearing aid manufacturers who are now making OTC devices. RxEars was the best fit. Amazing quality and great price points for the features they offer!
All RxEars hearing aids listed above will be available for in-store purchase at our RxEars kiosk. You do not need to buy any accessories with any of the hearing aids offered at Oswald’s. All the supplies needed to properly fit any devices are already included!
If you have any questions or want to know more about RxEars at Oswald’s, please give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you!