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New York’s consumer protection division issues guidance on over-the-counter hearing aids

  • / Updated
  • Staff Report 

The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection has issued crucial guidance for consumers purchasing the newly approved over-the-counter hearing aids. This comes in the wake of new federal regulations instituted in 2022, permitting the sale of hearing aids over the counter, making them more accessible to those experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss. The consumer can now acquire these devices online or in-store without a prescription or a formal hearing test. Secretary of State, Robert J. Rodriguez emphasized the importance of consumer awareness regarding the potential complexities of purchasing these devices and urged New Yorkers to refer to their guidelines to make informed decisions on suitable options.

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The guidance outlines the substantial differences between over-the-counter and professionally fitted hearing aids. When purchasing over-the-counter, consumers will not receive a hearing test, have to ensure a proper fit themselves, and are responsible for selecting a product that suits their needs. Over-the-counter devices usually don’t come with warranties, and consumers must refer to manufacturers for any arising issues post-purchase. Meanwhile, professionally fitted hearing aids involve registered professionals who administer hearing tests, assist in choosing and fitting the right device, and offer follow-up visits, returns, refunds, and routine cleaning, making them a more comprehensive solution especially for severe or profound hearing loss.

Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, Greg Olsen, stressed the importance of making informed decisions when purchasing hearing aids, given their significant impact on the quality of life. The Division of Consumer Protection’s guidance serves as a valuable resource for those considering buying hearing aids, aiding them in weighing their options based on specific needs, budget, and the level of post-purchase support they might require. For further information, consumers are encouraged to visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website.