We all enjoy convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this wonderful vision of the future might call for further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you so a little caution is necessary. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently addressed using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least theoretically, permit you to pick the proper device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding when we said it places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. 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 function better in a number of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- 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 occasionally be made. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come see us for advice.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your choices, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in conjunction with the technology you want.