COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is alerting consumers to beware of some misleading tactics by over-the-counter hearing aid companies that make false claims of performance and that they have the government’s approval.
“There are a lot of options for Ohioans that need hearing assistance, but quite honestly some of these products are not much better than putting your hand up behind your ear,” Yost said. “Be careful and do your research so you don’t add a money loss to a hearing loss.”
It’s estimated that nearly 1.1 million Ohioans and nearly one in eight Americans suffer from hearing loss.
Congress legalized the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids in 2017. Currently there are no such products that have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however this has not stopped some companies from making false claims that they have been FDA-approved.
These OTC products are not yet required to inform consumers their products are not intended for adults or children with severe hearing loss.
May is “Better Hearing Month,” so, to raise awareness, Yost has issued the following guidance when purchasing hearing aids and similar products:
• Be evaluated by a medical professional, such as an ear, nose and throat specialist, ear specialist or any licensed physician. These professionals can assist in the proper products that will help.
• Hearing aids should be fitted by an expert, such as a doctor or audiologist.
• Check the Better Business Bureau’s website (bbb.org) to see the ratings of a hearing aid retailer before purchasing the product.
Remember, the FDA has not approved any OTC hearing aids. If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.