We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future may require further investigation.
A little caution is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you. And that puts lots of burden 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?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least theoretically, permit you to select the proper device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty great. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they miss out on:
- A good fit: You can get guidance with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many styles of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common environments. For instance, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come see us for assistance.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.