"It worries me that this may become an acceptable solution when we all know that it’s actually causing more problems for the patient."

Dr. Lacey Brook’s Big Warning About Over-the-Counter Hearing Devices

by | May 28, 2022 | Hearing Aids, OTC, Patient Resources, Technology

After years of rumors, it has finally happened.

A well-respected consumer technology brand, Jabra, has introduced an over-the-counter product that promises to be a solution to the millions of people with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss that are not yet ready to become prescription hearing aid wearers.

The advertising campaigns have started, and I’m seeing more and more comments on Facebook from people that have a hearing challenge, but who feel more confused to what to do than ever before.

That’s why I felt compelled to write this article to share my opinion on over-the-counter hearing devices and what I believe are the two big warnings that everybody should know (that hardly any of my audiological colleagues are talking about).

WARNING #1 – They Have Been Around for Many Years, they are Not New!

When President Biden signed the executive order to encourage competition in the American economy on July 9th, 2021 – he included:

To promote the wide availability of low-cost hearing aids, not later than 120 days after the date of this order, publish for notice and comment a proposed rule on over-the-counter hearing-aids, as called for by section 709 of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-52, 131 Stat. 1005)”

The problem is that it has resulted in people believing that over-the-counter hearing devices are something  new. Yet the truth is, devices that are purchased over-the-counter that offer amplification and hearing support have already been around for many years.

They have been on the shelves of many stores and are available online;PSAP’s (Personal Sound Amplifiers) have been an option that offers amplification for those that need some hearing support in certain situations.

They are nothing new. The only difference now is that there is a lot of publicity, and some big brands are putting their names on such products.

WARNING #2 – They Will Cause Dangerous Delays

One of my biggest concerns is that these types of over-the-counter devices may delay people from receiving the  professional help they need.

If the devices paint themselves to be the solution to a hearing loss, and/or delay somebody from receiving prescriptive hearing devices, then they will undoubtedly  cause peoples hearing health to further worsen.

With hearing loss being irreversible and an untreated hearing loss gradually worsening, the speed of treatment is incredibly important from the moment you first experience a hearing challenge to when you are prescribed hearing aids.

Adding such a delay  goes against all medial common sense!

With the messaging around over-the-counter hearing aids claiming that they’re for people with a mild-to-moderate hearing loss that are not yet ready to be a hearing aid wearer – it worries me that this may become an acceptable solution when we all know that it’s actually causing the patient more problems.

My Advice to You

If you believe that you or a loved one has any form of hearing challenge, then my advice to you, as a Doctor of Audiology , that has helped thousands of people to achieve better hearing is that  over-the-counter hearing devices are not the solution.

To ensure my opinion is correct, I am closely monitoring, reviewing, and trialing all over-the-counter technology that reaches the market, and if I find a product that gives me the evidence to change my opinion, then I’ll be sure to report my findings.

I want to ensure that your long-term hearing health is the only thing that matters, and this means making a tough decision and making this rather extreme recommendation.

The hearing health of this community is what is at the core of our DNA.

If you have any questions, would like any advice, or would like to discuss your options, then my team and I are here to help. You can request a callback by clicking here or by calling us at 281-444-9800.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry in 2003, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a preferred provider for the American Institute of Balance (ABI), a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association. In addition to her years of experience identifying, diagnosing and treating all types and degrees of hearing loss, and vestibular disorders, Dr. Brooks has spent the last 13 years becoming an expert in Tinnitus management and therapy. Dr. Brooks is also one of the few providers in the country certified for Lyric Implantable Devices. For over seven years, Dr. Brooks successfully ran and operated more than six audiology clinics for one of the largest practices in the state of Texas before joining the North Houston Hearing Solutions team in 2016. Dr. Brooks prides herself on providing her patients with the highest quality of care. She loves her patients dearly and feels so fortunate that she gets to help improve their daily lives. This love, combined with her impressive skill set, business experience and passion for helping people hear has made Dr. Lacey Brooks a wonderful addition to the North Houston Hearing Solutions’ team. When not at the office, Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Dr. Brooks is also very involved in her church and with mission work in her community and abroad.

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