Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Exam is Still Needed
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid online or at the store without going through essential steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is right for you. Also, your hearing loss may be connected to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of someone that has a more complex kind of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies 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 increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a simple hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good match. You will be in a better position to choose which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
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 overcome. It’s important to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.