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Do I Need a Prescription for a Hearing Aid?

If you have trouble hearing the television, you simply turn up the volume. However, if you have trouble hearing people talking in normal social situations, adding an over-the-counter/online amplification device to your ears may not provide the level of sound clarity you need. In fact, a hearing aid purchased without the guidance of a medical professional may feel uncomfortable (so you don’t wear it), add to your level of hearing frustrations and end up costing you more in the long run.

At Biltmore ENT, our answer to the question, “Do I need a prescription for a hearing aid?” is yes. Our doctors firmly believes that it is important to understand the type of hearing loss you have, what is causing the hearing loss and the degree of impact it is having on your hearing. In fact, even the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) points out:

  • In some instances, it could be in your best health interest to have a medical examination by a licensed physician—preferably one that specializes in ear diseases—before buying hearing aids.
  • Typically, hearing aids are sold by a hearing health care professional (for example, an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser), who can perform a hearing assessment and hearing aid evaluation.
  • You should ask a licensed dispenser if the hearing aids you choose provide a trial/adjustment period during which your hearing aids can be returned for a refund.

Hearing aids are multifaceted medical devices that are uniquely tailored to your specific needs and the shape of your ears and they can be designed to meet your aesthetic goals (invisible to others, for example). Often even prescription hearing aids need to be fine-tuned and many people need assistance to get used to wearing these devices. This is the type of support that you will not receive by purchasing a hearing aid on your own.

There have been some amazing advancements in hearing aid technology. There are devices that offer noise reduction, speech enhancement, wireless earphones for cell phones and much more. An Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) doctor can help you understand the various options that exist today.

The bottom line is that while it is possible to purchase hearing aids without a prescription, it is not advised. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) also agrees that “A hearing aid is not just a tool to make sounds louder. It is a complex medical device. It is important to know why you are having trouble hearing. Knowing that will help you know what type of hearing aid will help you the most.”

If you feel you may need a hearing aid in Phoenix contact Biltmore ENT by calling (602) 932-6149.