OTC Hearing aids

#1

Many on here have commented how they expect OTC hearing aids to revolutionize the market. I wouldn’t hold your breath. We on the forum have not been very good about reading the crystal ball.

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#2

That’s very true for me.
Me betting on a team is like bad luck for that team!

I think we are already seeing some OTC aids. Seems like I read about one of our members having good luck with a set. All it will take to really get them going is public support, such as this forum.

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#3

If REM was built into the aids so they could be automatically fit, and if there were some basic adjustments available through a cell phone app, I’d be interested. I’d think it would be possible soon. The way things are now, I still want an audiologist.

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#4

TECHNOLOGY! !! It’s here and more is on the way. Many traditional occupations are already and will soon be replaced. Seems to me that audiologists will soon be gone, relaced by fully automated booths. And aids will be autoprogramed and updated by apps.

When? 5 to 10 years max.

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#5

I think that OTC aids will only make it easier for people such as myself (whose insurance doesn’t cover aids and who could never afford one otherwise) to be able to have help with their hearing loss. I did buy an OTC model, a MDHearing Lux, and I have nothing but nice things to say about it. It does the job I need it to with no feedback or weird noises, fits well, is easy to use, and was much more affordable than others at $585 (I got it on a 10% off sale using my HSA). Their company has given me great customer service and has gone above and beyond. I cannot say enough nice things about it! Is it for everyone? Certainly not! Will it work for a lot of people to help them hear better? Probably. I cannot speak for other brands because I have not used them. I would, however, be very wary of those cheap China type audio boosting devices passing themselves off as HAs.

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#6

Your aids will be picked by robots and flown to your door by Amazon drones. Very dystopian!

How about his scenario: With self-fitting and cheaper aids, more people will be getting some sort of hearing assistance sooner. That will make them more comfortable with seeing an audiologist as their hearing worsens (instead of delaying it forever like we do now). Audiologists will transition into being hearing trainers- working with clients to make best use of those self-fitting features. With more features, we will all expect better outcomes. We will not settle for almost being able to understand conversations, so we will spend more time with audiologists, not less.

Not sure if things will pan out that way, but who knows? Maybe.

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#7

While we’re on the subject:

http://www.two-pi.com/technologies/voicechoice/

Edit: More explanation here:

http://www.two-pi.com/voicechoice-hearing-aid-for-the-people/

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#8

OTC hearing devices should increase accessibility for many people with hearing loss and limited funds. I do not think they will replace the traditional route of hearing healthcare delivery. It may force clinics and manufacturers to significantly lower their pricing model and give individuals access to their knowledge and facilities with a corresponding reduction in warranties and provided services.

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#9

Very interesting links. We are not there yet but the direction is getting clear. I’m getting ready for new aids but I think I’ll wait a bit for something really new. I, fortunately, don’t need cheaper but I do need better.

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#10

I think this is where better will continue to be as it is now, with the big name brand aids who really do a lot of research.

For the standard aids I do see OTC aids on the rise.

The Phillips aids I can see getting into OTC.

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#11

I remain skeptical. People have been predicting revolutionary changes because of the OTC law. I expect it to be more incremental, but none of us really knows.

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#12

I agree with what you are saying. But some of us need more help with adjusting frequency’s for listening to stuff like music. All digital hearing aids make this almost impossible.

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#13

I think your correct about it being incremental. I live in the UK where pretty good aids are supplied by the health service for free and still loads of people that would benefit from aids don’t get them.
The health service is of course not free but funded from general taxation.

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#14

True, Bobbyjo. Hopefully soon they will come out with HAs that anyone can adjust for themselves without having to keep going to an audi for every tweak! That would be ideal, control of your own sound at your fingertips!

That’s why I said they are not for everyone, and many people may need much more customization. Nor will they replace the ultra-mega brands that have everything but the kitchen sink paired to them. But for people that have a good idea of what they need and want a simple, basic device to help them enjoy sounds better, if it works for them then I’m all for it! Some people (without severe loss) may find that anything that boosts volume and clarity with basic noise reduction and things like that are all they need, and it could make such a difference in their lives. Mine has 2 microphones for directional sound, auto adjusts between settings, and sounds great to me with clear speech and music but no feedback or fuzziness, which is all that I wanted (apart from being slim enough to work with my glasses frame). Most brands offer a return period if the customer isn’t satisfied as well, mine is I think 45 days with a 100% refund. It has provided me with an opportunity to hear clearly out of my right ear again, when otherwise it was way out of my budget!

It may also be a good starting point for someone who is interested in top-of-the-line but is not sure if they can adjust to HAs or have them work for their lifestyle, rather than shelling out thousands on something that may not pan out for them they can try OTC and get comfortable wearing aids and used to the feel, cleaning, seeing if they stay on during sports, etc.

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#15

Interesting and thoughtful replies all.
My own take is that acceptance will be slow, since we are accustomed to getting hearing help through the medical model. But, I think eventually, some electronics people will see a profit motive and invest in some good research. Which will, in turn,see us moving away from the medical model and towards the electronic appliance model. This will mean rapidly advancing technology and lower prices. The future for Audiologists? I think it depends on how well they adapt.

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#16

I think that it true. I see this adaptation of OTC aids being driven by the younger tech savvy prodigy of many analog aging people. The kids will be comfortable with picking an OTC / online assistive hearing device to help their parents / grandparents who they can see are hard of hearing, and doing the online or smartphone driven app that does the setup. These young people (Millennials ?) are buying food delivery, eyeglasses / contacts, clothing, furniture, toothbrushes, erectile dysfunction drugs, balding remedies, even automobiles online. Getting OTC / online hearing aids for other or themselves is a logical next step, or so it seems, from what I see during TV ads.

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