Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more frequently online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also may make this type of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing exam is a serious concern. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is correct for you. Also, your hearing loss might be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is instantaneous: the volume rapidly goes down.
But actual hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many options, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical choices with your hearing aids:
Be certain you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be bad for your ears over time. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the right strategy for your needs.
The best option 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 critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.