Can you get hearing aids without a doctor?

Yes, you can buy some over-the-counter hearing aids without a prescription or visit an audiologist. These products fall into the category of direct consumer online shopping. Learn more about the research NIDCD supports to make hearing health care more accessible and affordable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering regulations that would allow you to buy over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids without consulting a doctor.

Johnson recommends that everyone get a baseline hearing test before age 65 so that hearing loss can be measured as they age. Therefore, consulting a doctor is an important part of acquiring a hearing aid and by far the best approach to ensuring long-term hearing health. Making hearing health care more accessible and affordable is a public health priority, especially considering the number of older adults in the United States. Some direct-to-consumer hearing aids, such as Sound World, allow users to download an app and customize their device beyond factory settings.

To find out if an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser is licensed, check with the Better Business Bureau, the consumer protection agency, the State Attorney General's office, or the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). That way, hearing aids are still dispensed through a licensed professional, but not an expensive middleman. There is speculation that yoga, taking supplements and vitamins, or certain types of essential oils, such as cajeput essential oil, may help restore hearing naturally, but none of them are supported by current research. As for the market, the FDA says the change will boost competition and will also put scrutiny from regulators on companies that are not approved to sell hearing aids, but are effectively already doing so by marketing personal sound amplification (PSAP) products.

Through its app, you can adjust the noise reduction and general equalizer settings of your hearing aids, and the MDHearingAid Core will automatically detect noise levels in your environment and adjust accordingly. For decades, the FDA has regulated hearing aids as prescription medical devices, an agreement that increases the cost and effort people must invest to obtain them. The reason for this is simple: you can get a more accurate diagnosis and therefore a better fit of the hearing aids if you consult a professional. Both audiologists and licensed hearing aid dispensers are trained to recognize these issues and show customers how to get the right care.

The cost of hearing aids covers these professional services and can include up to 4 years of follow-up at no additional cost.