Expert Advice on Over the Counter Hearing Aids


Expert Advice on Over the Counter Hearing AidsA new law will soon give people with certain degrees of hearing loss the option to purchase hearing aid devices over the counter. The legislation, which will go into effect in August of 2020, will offer consumers the chance to purchase personal sound amplification product (PSAP) hearing aids from local pharmacies.

The law itself was passed in 2017, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently approved the first over the counter hearing aid - a device the FDA says that ordinary people can buy and set up on their own. These devices will also be available for a lower price than most professionally prescribed hearing aids.

Dr. Rebecca Blaha, lead audiologist at the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI), explains the effect the bill will have on those who suffer from hearing loss, as well as the effect it will have on the audiology profession as a whole.

“They're targeting people that have mild to moderate hearing loss that might self-identify with mild communication difficulties,” she said. “Because that type of hearing loss is typically seen as we get older, it's seen as more an age-related hearing loss that develops, but it won’t be the same quality.”

The new law has been positively received with many viewing its application as a progressive step for the audiology profession and beneficial for those who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss in addition to other communication difficulties.

However, as Dr. Blaha further explains, the types of hearing aids provided by this bill will not deliver the same level of quality as those prescribed by a professional audiologist. Therefore it is imperative for individuals who have hearing loss or communication difficulties to continue to receive the necessary professional assistance.


The Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) offers a variety of services including comprehensive hearing evaluations, hearing aid fitting and repair. For more information on PEI’s hearing aid services, call 215.780.3180.