We all enjoy convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to understand how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we might need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little more.
A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other types of hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved somewhat.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s right for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all situations. That doesn’t automatically mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t enough with regards to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in several common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A good fit: We help you choose a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you should use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.