The Trouble With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

Man gets over-the-counter hearing aids without getting a hearing test.

Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.

A Hearing Experiment is Still Important

One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over necessary steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be difficult to identify what the right plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to set up the device for best results.

Not All Hearing Loss is Equal

In general, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything gets quiet.

But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.

The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions

Right now, people have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.

Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:

Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be careful of this. One problem that people have run into is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower end which could damage your hearing.

Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct strategy for your requirements.

The best choice is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be conquered. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.