Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a bit further.
Over the counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you so a little caution is needed. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to know all of the facts. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all conditions. The real problems can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
Theoretically, this most likely all sounds pretty great. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it places a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:
- A good fit: We help you choose a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common environments. For example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various styles of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a little caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.