ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona advocates have mixed response to over-the-counter hearing aids

Sep 12, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 9:27 am

(Photo by Óscar J. Barroso/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Óscar J. Barroso/Getty Images)

(Photo by Óscar J. Barroso/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Although the Biden Administration believes hearing aids could be available for over-the-counter purchase by mid-October, some Arizona advocates feel it won’t address the real issues of hearing health care.

In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized the move to make acquiring hearing aids easier which may, in turn, lower the ultimate cost of hearing devices.

Using statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders which states roughly 15% of American adults report some sort of hearing trouble, the Biden Administration estimates this move to make hearing aids more accessible could help more than 30 million Americans.

While the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing agrees the need is there, it acknowledges that this may not be the most comprehensive solution.

Michele Michaels, hearing health care program manager with the commission, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that she is already starting to see that shift occur to some extent.

“What’s going to happen, most likely, is that manufacturers of electronic devices that help people hear are going to start making devices and calling them hearing aids,” Michaels explained.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of new devices. They’re going to be less expensive because there is no there is no testing, there is no professional adjustment modifying for the different frequencies.”

Michaels added that these types of hearing devices may only cost a few hundred dollars over-the-counter compared to traditional hearing aids, which costs thousands typically.

That’s where the concern lies for hearing health care advocates like Michaels.

When getting something over-the-counter, consumers get the option to cut out doctors’ appointments and seeing specialists, many times which may not be covered by insurance.

However, hearing aids may not always be the answer to hearing loss.

“Accessing these devices may help people but we do want people to think also about at least checking with a professional before they spend money on something that may or may not help,” Michaels explained.

She went on to add that while she hopes this initiative will start to get more people thinking about their hearing as health care, there also needs to be a shift in the overall health care coverage of hearing.

“If insurance companies were to look at hearing as a health care issue and say, ‘you know, that’s something we should cover,’ that would really help because then people would get the appropriate testing and a really high technology device, professionally fitted.”

But until that shift occurs, the commission is working to making hearing health care more accessible to all Arizonans.

“We know that when you don’t treat your hearing loss we see higher levels of dementia, more frequent falling, higher levels of withdrawal,” Michaels said.

That’s why ACDHH teamed up with Arizona State University’s Speech and Hearing Clinic to provide hearing aids, all the testing included, completely free to low income adults. The plan is to expand that program statewide within the next few years.

The commission is also working with state lawmakers to see that hearing health care gets covered for those 21 and older who use the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency.

Michaels said anyone who is struggling with hearing loss or hoping to volunteer with those struggling can contact the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 602-542-3323 or visit online.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

One teenage woman died after a shooting at an apartment complex in South Phoenix Wednesday night, a...

KTAR.com

16-year-old girl dead after allegedly trying to rob couple in south Phoenix

A teenage girl died after allegedly trying to rob a couple at gunpoint at an apartment complex in south Phoenix Wednesday night.

5 hours ago

An alleged fugitive was killed by U.S. Marshals on Thursday, authorities confirmed. (ABC15 helicopt...

KTAR.com

Alleged fugitive dead after shooting involving US Marshals in Tempe

An alleged fugitive was shot and killed in Tempe by the U.S. Marshals East Valley Task Force, authorities confirmed Thursday.

5 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Tempe Marketplace)...

KTAR.com

Tempe Marketplace announces 4 new tenants, including Sam’s Club

Tempe Marketplace announced it is adding four new tenants, including Sam's Club, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Happy Beauty, and Enclave Salon Suites.

7 hours ago

Arizona Indian water settlement agreement...

Serena O'Sullivan

Leaders of 3 Arizona tribes sign water rights settlement agreement

The Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Settlement Agreement was signed on Wednesday, according to the Hopi Tribe.

11 hours ago

Eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 closed in Phoenix due to vehicle fire...

KTAR.com

Eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 partially reopen in Phoenix after fire

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 partially reopened in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

12 hours ago

Jeff Flake, seen in a Senate hallway in a 2020 file photo, reportedly is stepping down from his rol...

Kevin Stone

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake reportedly stepping down as US ambassador to Turkey

Jeff Flake, a former U.S. senator from Arizona, reportedly is stepping down from his role as ambassador to Turkey after three years.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Arizona advocates have mixed response to over-the-counter hearing aids