Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing help. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious worries about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a couple of concerns.
A Hearing Exam is Still Necessary
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over important steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. It will be difficult to recognize what the right solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss may be linked to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: everything gets quiet.
But actual hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you aren’t getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.
Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. 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 solution for your needs.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and education, most of these difficulties can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your overall health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.