Non-prescription hearing aids are everywhere online! These types of aids are being presented as an affordable alternative by WalmartTM, Sam's ClubTM, AmazonTM, Buy.comTM, E-bayTM and a host of other online sales web sites.
But what many of them don't point out is that they are not programmed to fit your exact loss.
Like many others, the GHI SimplicityTM is just a non-programmable aid, not programmed to your hearing loss. On some models you can adjust the volume and tone but it is not programmable on a computer.
The FDA has never recommended any hearing aid that has not been programmed for your specific needs.
On the FDA web site about hearing aids they say:
"To get hearing aids, you should first have a hearing evaluation to determine the type and amount of your hearing loss. The process begins with a medical and audiologic examination.
Medical examination. The medical examination may be performed by any licensed physician including your family doctor or pediatrician, but preferably should be done by an ear, nose, and throat specialist (an otolaryngologist). You will need an examination of your ear, nose, and throat and possibly other testing to rule out any medical reason for your hearing loss, such as infection, injury or deformity, ear wax in the ear canal, and, in rare cases, tumors. You will receive documentation of your medical exam and a statement that says you are a hearing aid candidate.
Audiological examination. An audiological exam, or audiogram, involves a hearing evaluation by a hearing health professional who specializes in evaluation, non-medical treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing loss (an audiologist) to identify the type and amount of your hearing loss, to determine the need for medical/surgical treatment and/or referral to a licensed physician, and to provide rehabilitation of the hearing loss."
The FDA allows you to sign a waiver to avoid the medical exam, but they never recommend getting an aid without it being programmed to a recent hearing test. Otherwise, you may be getting an aid that is way too strong (dangerous) or way too weak (ineffective) for your particular loss.
Some people have said that they cannot afford a prescription hearing aid, and therefore, aids like the MD Hearing AidTM and the GHI SimplicityTM are their only option, but that is simply not the case.
If you have a hearing loss and need to hear better, do not settle for a non-programmable aid. We have quality, digital, PRESCRIPTION hearing aids starting at only $395.
They (sellers of the generic aids) also go on to say: "I have been advised that the Food and Drug Administration has determined that my best interest would be served if I had a medical evaluation by a licensed physician, preferably a physician who specialized in diseases of the ear, before purchasing a hearing instrument; or a test by a licensed audiologist or licensed hearing instrument dispenser utilizing established procedures and instrumentation in the fitting of hearing instruments." (wording may vary from site to site)
But then they (Walmart and others) encourage you to buy the unprogrammable aid anyway, which is in direct conflict with their statement that "it is in your best interest" to get tested before you get a hearing aid and use established procedures and instrumentation in the fitting of the hearing aid.
Our suggestion: Listen to the FDA and don't risk your hearing on a non-programmable product, when you can get a prescription digital hearing aid, programmed for your exact loss!
A News Release Issued by the Better Hearing Institute
Better Hearing Institute Warns on Do-it-yourself Hearing Care
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 12, 2011 — The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is warning consumers of the inherent risks associated with purchasing over-the-counter, one-size-fits-all hearing aids instead of consulting a hearing healthcare professional. Hearing loss is sometimes the symptom of a serious underlying medical problem. All 50 states require that consumers use a credentialed hearing care professional to purchase hearing aids.
BHI also points out that hearing devices that are purchased over-the-counter or Internet without the consultation of a hearing healthcare professional may result in the devices not being accurately customized to the specific hearing needs of the individual.
"Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individuals specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,”says Sergei Kochkin, BHIs Executive Director. “The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-size-fits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”
Extensive research shows that individualized hearing health assessments and fittings programmed specific to the needs of the hearing aid user provide the best chance for optimal hearing enhancement and customer satisfaction.
"The best advice BHI can give anyone purchasing a hearing aid is to find a state credentialed hearing healthcare professional and to communicate openly during the evaluation, fitting and trial period to increase the likelihood that you are receiving the best possible benefit from your hearing aids,” says Kochkin. “It will make a tremendous difference in your ability to hear and in your quality of life.”
More about hearing loss
The number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to more than 34 million—roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. Over the past generation, hearing loss among Americans has increased at a rate of 160 percent of U.S. population growth and is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today.
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk of personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
But the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life, according to a survey by BHI of more than 2,000 consumers.
Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback than hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features.