Many older adults and seniors suffer various levels of hearing loss over the years. For some it may be minor, for others the inability to hear well may be significantly impacting their lives. As an in-home caregiving agency catering to those in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area, we thought seniors or adult children of those who are aging may be interested in the latest news regarding hearing aids and OTC sound amplification devices.
Researchers found while conducting a study that for many, amplification devices found over-the-counter are almost as effective as expensive hearing aids that often cost thousands of dollars. The research was conducted among more than 40 older adults who experienced mild to moderate hearing loss, with the participants being tested for their ability to understand sentences that were spoken while there was noise in the background; the older adults would repeat the sentences so researchers could see how well the participants could understand what was being spoken, without any device. The same process was performed using a brand of hearing aid typically dispensed in audiology clinics, then with a variety of over-the-counter personal sound amplification products.
The results of the study concluded that participants could hear nearly as well with personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) that cost on average about $300 to $350 as they could with hearing aids that would add up to a hefty sum of about $3,800 to $4,000 for both ears (approximately $1,900 or more per ear).
The problem lies in the fact that because PSAPs don’t meet FDA standards, they cannot be marketed as hearing aids. Add to this the fact that the majority of private health insurance plans and Medicare do not cover hearing aids, and many seniors simply suffer their hearing loss and live with the consequences.
The good news is that legislation is pending in Congress that would result in the FDA setting regulations for OTC products, which are obviously far cheaper; this legislature would make it possible for those with moderate hearing loss to have access to the most effective OTC sound amplification devices and to purchase them without a medical exam or prescription, while having peace of mind knowing the devices meet federal safety standards. This study boosts the legislation, which will hopefully pass, so that those with hearing issues have a cheaper yet effective option for hearing aids.
Care Indeed caters to families in the San Francisco Bay Area in need of in-home care for aging family members. Our customized senior care services make it possible for your loved one to have the right care, at the right time. Contact us today to learn more, or browse our website for helpful information that will aid you in making an informed decision.