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FDA approves hearing aids over the counter, audiologist raises concerns

FDA approves hearing aids over the counter, Audiologist raises concerns

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the sale of hearing aids over the counter. Starting this fall, won't need to visit the doctor or get an exam to get a hearing device.

With this ruling, hearing devices will become more accessible. However, some doctors are raising concerns over the decision.

Dr. Bill Herholtz, an audiologist and CEO of Apex Audiology, is one health care provider that's raised concern over the use of over-the-counter hearing aids.

For more than two decades Dr. Herholtz has been helping people pick out devices to help them hear better. He explained to KRDO why he's hesitant to celebrate the FDA's approval.

"I think it might allow some people to try a hearing aid that might not have otherwise tried one but really at the end of the day I think those people will eventually graduate to a hearing instrument that is fit by a professional in a traditional way," said Herholtz.

Dr. Herholtz says over-the-counter devices may not address specific patient needs.

"If you come to a professional office, we are going to sit down, get to know your needs, give you a thorough hearing test in a soundproof room, and then we can program the hearing instrument to your particular hearing loss, whereas you just buy something over the counter it is more of an amplifier than a hearing aid," added Herholtz.

A hearing aid can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000.

The FDA says this rule will help to make these devices available for a lower cost, leaders at the Independence Center in Colorado Springs say this is a benefit for those who can't afford to go to an audiologist.

“We know that day in and day out, only one in five people who have hearing loss are actually utilizing hearing aids so this is gonna make them very available, less expensive cost is always a giant barrier in accessing hearing aids, so this is really great."

Over-the-counter hearing aids could be available at drugstores by mid-October.

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Jasmine Arenas


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