Hearing Care – Audiologists Can Diagnose and Treat Hearing Loss

Anyone suspecting hearing loss should seek advice from a professional audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. Audiologists hold advanced degrees and can diagnose and treat hearing loss. Audiologists provide comprehensive audiologic evaluations as well as recommend hearing devices not covered by Medicare.

As hearing aids are generally not covered by medical insurance plans, adults typically pay out-of-pocket for them as hearing care. When shopping around for the right provider with reasonable financing and 45-day trial periods it can make all the difference for your budget and experience level.

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Prior to 2022, hearing aids could only be obtained with a valid prescription from either an audiologist or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor). They conducted comprehensive hearing evaluations before fitting their devices to your specific ear shape for maximum performance – they even offered support and follow up visits!

Now available at pharmacies and big box stores without requiring a physician visit or prescription is a new category of over-the-counter devices that amplify sounds to assist some adults who perceive mild-moderate hearing loss stay connected with friends and family members. These “OTC” aids may assist some adults to stay engaged.

These over-the-counter aids are typically designed to fit inside or behind the ear and come in various colors, shapes, and sizes – some as small as a pencil tip! Some models are specifically intended to sit within an ear canal while others feature a case behind your ear with an internal receiver in your bud or canal.

Note that OTC devices are not suitable for children as they require special techniques and frequent adjustments as their ears develop. Furthermore, these OTC aids may have limited loudness output and features when compared with those available through an audiologist; customization, features and computer processing may differ significantly between these categories; with options often changing weekly as new models hit the market.

Prescription Hearing Aids

Traditional hearing aids are custom fitted by an audiologist who performs hearing tests before custom-fitting them for you based on that analysis. But thanks to a 2022 ruling from the FDA, Americans now have greater access to over-the-counter hearing aids – available both in stores and online without professional assistance – such as those sold without prescriptive instructions from an audiologist or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor).

OTC devices typically feature less sophisticated technology than their prescription counterparts and don’t include professional services like fitting, maintenance, repair or counseling. Furthermore, they cannot address all forms of hearing loss such as ear infection or vertigo which require professional treatment to correct.

When purchasing OTC hearing aids, consider the warranty length. Most manufacturers provide one year manufacturer warranties; others may offer extra coverage such as loss or damage protection (like Lucid).

Make sure to carefully read through any fine print and avoid products claiming an FDA registration certificate as this certificate isn’t issued for medical devices. Furthermore, many companies offering OTC hearing aids offer payment plans so they’re more affordable for different consumers; Lucid offers remote assistance from its team of hearing professionals for the life of its product while other brands may provide comparable warranties like those found with prescription models.

Bone-Anchor Auditory Implants

Bone-anchored hearing devices utilize a titanium implant placed behind your ear that transmits vibrations directly to your inner ear, bypassing outer and middle ears. Its abutment connects with an external sound processor you wear like a traditional hearing aid; the sound processor converts sound waves into signals which vibrate the implant abutment, producing vibrations transmitted directly into your inner ear where they’re converted into audible sound waves.

Traditional bone conduction hearing aids rely on pressing a transducer against the skull in order to hear, which may cause discomfort and limit performance at higher frequencies. BAHAs offer direct bone conduction without pressure for more natural high-frequency sound quality and increased gain (5).

Under local anesthesia and as an outpatient procedure, BAHA surgery is relatively minor and quickly recovers to allow you to wear the external device and program it with your audiologist.

Some children may qualify for bone-anchored auditory implants due to having conductive hearing loss which cannot be effectively addressed with traditional amplification or cochlear implant (for certain single-sided deafness cases). Your audiologist will evaluate your child and decide if BAHA implants are right for them; in many countries these treatments are covered by government or private health insurance plans.


Hearing aids are an excellent way to improve one’s ability to communicate, but occasionally additional accessories may be needed for optimal communication. Such accessories may help in situations in which speakers are far away or poor acoustics or excessive background noise make hearing difficult; assistive listening devices (ALDs) are designed specifically to amplify sound quality by transmitting speaker voice directly into a receiver worn near the ear and amplifying it directly from it.

Other accessories are also available to support hearing aid use, such as cleaning kits and products designed to prevent earwax buildup. A wax pick and brush are essential tools for cleaning hearing aids without risking damage to their delicate workings, while products exist that dehydrate and sanitize hearing aids for reduced risks of infection or damage.

Digital wireless accessories enable hearing aid users to connect electronic devices using Bluetooth technology, stream audio from TV, computer, tablet, MP3 player or in-car entertainment system directly into hearing aids for clear and convenient streaming audio streaming. There are even devices which allow remote control of hearing aids through an app on a smartphone or other handheld device; making using hearing aids even more enjoyable and effective!