In what many consider to be a long overdue move, by this fall Americans will be able to buy hearing aids over the counter at pharmacies and drug stores. This will make getting a hearing aid a more affordable and convenient experience.
Hearing loss is considered a risk factor for dementia. While the connection is not fully understood yet, researchers believe that hearing loss may impair cognitive function in a variety of ways. A Johns Hopkins study is underway right now to determine if hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline in senior adults. Results from the study are expected in 2023.
My father suffered from hearing loss around the same time he began to first show signs of dementia. Not being able to hear properly can have a negative impact on social interactions, which can also increase the risk of dementia.
Hearing is often something we take for granted but just like with vision, it’s important to note any changes and address issues promptly. Just like you can purchase a pair of reading glasses at your local pharmacy or drug store, soon hearing aids will also be available. Some medical experts are concerned that skipping a customized hearing aid fitting could have unintended consequences, such as not properly addressing a hearing loss issue. One should consult with their doctor if an OTC hearing aid fails to address their hearing loss but providing consumers more affordable and readily available options is an important step forward.