We all enjoy convenience. So if you can go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future might call for deeper investigation.
A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to understand what’s what. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, are similar to other types of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But it’s a little more complicated than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your overall hearing health, specifically 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. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will perform well in all situations. The real hassles can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common environments. As an example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- A good fit: We help you choose a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.