New Hearing Aid Options are Coming in 2022 | HLAA

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidelines for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, a first step toward giving Americans more options to address mild to moderate hearing loss. When the rule is finalized, adults 18 and older will be able to purchase OTC hearing aids online or at retail outlets without a medical exam or fitting by a hearing care professional. While final regulations and the first OTC products are still months away, now is an opportune time to educate ourselves on the various types of hearing devices that will be available.

Today there are primarily three types of devices that provide hearing help:

1. Sound amplifiers: One-size-fits-all devices, called PSAPs (personal sound amplification products), intended for recreational use for individuals with no hearing loss that simply make all environmental sounds louder. These are considered hearing “amplifiers” not hearing “aids.”

2. Hearing aids: Medical devices for people with hearing loss, most frequently prescribed by a hearing health professional and customized to fit and adjusted to discern sounds in all listening situations. OTC devices are intended for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss and will be sold online and in retail stores without the assistance of a hearing care professional. They will be distinct from prescription hearing aids.

3. Implants: Cochlear implant solutions, or bone-anchored hearing systems, that are designed for those with severe-to-profound hearing loss.

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