Recently, Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that citizens seeking help with their hearing should exercise caution when purchasing over-the-counter hearing devices.
We are happy to see that Mr. Bonta sees what we have seen for years.
I have had many patients come into my office with their malfunctioning OTC devices. But, unfortunately, in most cases, there is nothing that can be done to fix them.
Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more popular since buying an OTC is very easy nowadays. The internet has made these types of hearing aids very accessible and inexpensive.
While we believe that finding an economical solution is very important, it shouldn’t be at the expense of proper hearing healthcare.
“Healthcare costs can add up, which is why many of us seek out more affordable options that make sense for our families,” said Bonta. “While hearing aids sold online or over the counter may appear to be more cost-effective than traditional hearing aids, they may not properly address your particular hearing loss needs or maybe outright scams.”
I get many people bringing their third-party devices to me because the seller does not offer support.
One of the huge advantages of working with a professional audiologist is that you always have someone on your side working with you all the time.
If you have any questions or issues with your hearing aids, then we are here to help.
“As you explore your options, know your rights, beware of false claims, and exercise caution if you choose to purchase from an unlicensed seller.”
Prescribed hearing aids are modern marvels of technology that can target your specific hearing problem. We have gone through the training and have dedicated our careers to understanding this technology and how to apply it to each patient individually.
If you are thinking of getting an OTC, please remember that they are much more rudimentary and are only meant for mild hearing loss. So please consider these points as well.
No Interaction With A Hearing Care Professional
All professional audiologists will start with a comprehensive hearing assessment to understand what is preventing you from perfect hearing.
Many things cause hearing loss, and if we don’t address the proper symptom, your hearing won’t improve.
OTCs do not come with a professional diagnosis and ongoing care like the hearing aids you get through an audiologist.
You may be asked a few simple questions, but it is a far cry from the detailed analysis we professionals perform.
Your issue may be something as simple as wax buildup or a growth within the ear that restores your hearing to normal once removed. If that is the case and you chose an OTC to deal with this, then you will only be compounding the problem.
Be Aware Of Crafty Marketing
OTCs have a very small target market, as most of the hearing problems in California are beyond that of mild.
These companies use creative advertising to draw larger audiences to sell more products.
An example of this is OTCs that are touted as “FDA registered.” This means that the company has submitted an application to the FDA for approval. However, it means that the FDA has not even looked at their case yet.
As professional audiologists, we only work with FDA-approved products to ensure the best quality and highest standards. The approved hearing aids have more settings and customizable options to address each patient’s specific needs.
It takes quite some time to get any medical solution approved by the FDA. However, they recognize how important providing the right healthcare is to everyone and want to ensure that the products being approved are made with the proper care that every citizen needs.
Know Your Rights
Thankfully, the state of California already has a law in place that protects you as a consumer.
According to California law Civil Code section 1793.02, you are allowed 45 days to return or exchange your OTC device with no questions asked. This may be longer in some cases if the seller has offered you a longer grace period. In which case, the law protects you up to that number of days with no extra fees.
In addition, the seller must also provide you with this information in writing on the date of purchase. This will outline exactly what day your OTC return policy is set to expire so you can make a risk-free and informed decision.
What To Do If You Are Unsure About Your OTCs?
If you already have OTCs or are thinking about getting them, please call us for a friendly no-obligation conversation. We are happy to discuss your options and provide guidance in any way we can.
Please call us at one of our convenient locations or click here to request a callback.