We all love 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 attractive. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little more.
Over the counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you so a bit of caution is needed. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But it’s a bit more challenging than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will identify what the correct solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your scenario.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. That doesn’t always mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this probably 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 placed on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:
- A good fit: We help you select a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Achieving a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common settings. For example, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and including your hearing specialist will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.