Huff Post: FAQs for Hearing Aids

1. Do I really need to see a physician before I am fitted with a hearing aid?

Hearing loss can sometimes be the result of a simple medical issue, such as ear wax. It can also be from an unidentified disease, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, or hypertension. James C. Denneny III, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recommends having a medical evaluation prior to being fit with a hearing aid to rule out treatable hearing loss. An ear wax cleaning might be all that’s needed to eliminate the need for amplification.

2. What is the difference between a Personal Sound Amplifier and a hearing aid?

“Hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAPS) can both improve our ability to hear sound,” says Capt. Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., clinical deputy director of FDA’s Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices. “They are both wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar.” Dr. Mann notes, however, that the products are different in that only hearing aids are intended to make up for impaired hearing, and that choosing a PSAP as a substitute for a hearing aid “can cause a delay in diagnosis of a potentially treatable condition. And that delay can allow the condition to get worse and lead to other complications.”