It’s been less than a year since over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids first hit retail store shelves. And among those models that are currently available, the Sony CRE-C10 OTC hearing aids have become a popular option.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at what over-the-counter hearing aids are, who they’re intended for, and whether wearing the Sony CRE-C10 devices could help prevent cognitive decline.
How Are the Sony CRE-C10 OTC Hearing Aids Different From Prescription Hearing Aids?
Similar to over-the-counter drugs, reading glasses, or other medical aids, OTC hearing aids can be purchased at your local drugstore or pharmacy.
OTC hearing aids such as the Sony CRE-C10 models:
● Do not require a prescription.
● May be purchased without a hearing test.
● Are intended for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
● Must be set up and adjusted by the purchaser, friend, or family member (no healthcare professional is involved).
In contrast, prescription hearing aids:
● Do require a prescription from a healthcare professional.
● Are prescribed after a thorough hearing evaluation which includes a hearing test.
● Can be used for individuals with mild, moderate, and even severe hearing loss.
● Are set up and adjusted by a hearing health professional such as an audiologist.
Prescription hearing aids can often be adjusted, repaired, and maintained by the same professional throughout their use, enabling the wearer to continue to hear well even as their hearing changes.
An Audiologist’s Review: Sony CRE-C10 OTC Hearing Aids vs. Prescription Hearing Aids
One of the primary reasons why the Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter hearing aids was to help improve accessibility to hearing loss treatment for more people. While that goal may be realistic, many still question the quality of hearing loss treatment that OTC hearing aid wearers receive. In other words, are over-the-counter hearing aids as effective as prescription ones?
That’s exactly what one of our audiologists, Dr. Gary, set out to discover when he did a detailed review of the Sony CRE-C10 OTC hearing aids. Watch this video to see the complete unboxing of the devices and his explanation of how they work: Sony Hearing Aid Review
When comparing these over-the-counter hearing aids to prescription hearing aids, Dr. Gary found that the prescription devices:
● Had a better fit inside the patient’s ear canal.
● Could be more effectively programmed and adjusted to fit the patient’s specific hearing needs.
● Provided a sharper, clearer hearing experience.
● Could help the patient hear better overall.
In a nutshell, the Sony CRE-C10 OTC hearing aids were cheaper (approximately $1,000 per set) than prescription hearing aids. These came with attractive packaging, cleaning tools, and clear setup instructions. However, they provided an inferior hearing experience compared to prescription devices and were not as likely to continue to meet the patient’s hearing needs in the future.
This means that over-the-counter devices might be cheaper to purchase initially. However, they could actually cost more in the long run if they’re not as durable and need to be replaced more frequently, or if new ones have to be purchased to meet future hearing loss treatment needs.
Can Wearing Hearing Aids Prevent Cognitive Decline?
Considering hearing aids are still relatively new to the market, other models may be available in the future that will provide a more comprehensive hearing experience. In the meantime, individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss may find them helpful instead of not treating hearing loss at all.
Why is hearing loss treatment so important? Some would say that it’s a critical component for a high quality of life. After all, being able to hear and engage with those around you can make everyday living easier and more enjoyable.
But more importantly, treating hearing loss can potentially lower your risk for age-related cognitive decline. Without hearing loss treatment, many people with hearing loss become socially isolated. Untreated hearing loss can cause individuals to avoid situations where they may not be able to hear well. This lack of auditory stimulation can hasten the onset of cognitive decline.
Individuals who choose to seek hearing loss treatment, however, are able to hear better and have more meaningful interactions with the people and environment around them. Great hearing health keeps them socially engaged and can contribute to happier relationships and an overall higher quality of life. Plus, the added auditory stimulation for the brain can mean healthier neural pathways and better overall functioning. So, while wearing hearing aids may not prevent age-related cognitive decline altogether, it could certainly delay its onset or progression.
Hear Well and Live Well with Expert Hearing Loss Treatment in Mesa and Scottsdale, AZ
At Advanced Hearing Group, we believe that treating hearing loss is a journey, not something you do just once. So, while the Sony CRE-C10 OTC hearing aids and other over-the-counter models may make hearing loss treatment more affordable for some, they are certainly not the most comprehensive treatment option.
The first step to treating hearing loss effectively is recognizing that you have a problem and choosing to get treatment. Here, the journey starts with a thorough hearing evaluation which also includes a hearing test. Based on the results of that, our audiologists will create a personalized treatment plan that may or may not include hearing aids. The ultimate goal is to help YOU delay cognitive decline and hear better so you can live well and enjoy the world and people around you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to get started on YOUR hearing loss treatment journey!