Nov 20, 2013 5:00 PM by Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Feel like you're losing your hearing? It's important to see a doctor before you start looking for a hearing aid or amplifier, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
"The problem might be as simple as a wax impaction blocking the ear canal, which is easily treated, or at the other end of the spectrum, it could be something as serious as a tumor pressing on the hearing nerve," Dr. Eric Mann, clinical deputy director of the FDA's division of ophthalmic, and ear, nose and throat devices, said in an agency news release.
Many cases of hearing loss are related to aging and exposure to loud noises, and a hearing aid might be the solution. While a prescription is not required for most kinds of hearing aids, it's wise to see a health care professional to rule out other medical causes of hearing loss, and to ensure that hearing aids are properly fitted and come with follow-up care.
Your primary care doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist -- an otolaryngologist -- for evaluation and diagnosis of hearing loss, the FDA said. It also noted that two types of hearing health professionals are authorized to measure hearing loss and dispense hearing aids:
Consumers shouldn't deal with businesses that say there is no need for a medical exam before buying a hearing aid.
If you're shopping for a hearing aid, the FDA says you should:
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has more about hearing aids.