We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future might require deeper investigation.
A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will determine what the correct solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all conditions. The real issues can start when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
Theoretically, this most likely all sounds pretty great. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it places a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
When you come in for some hearing guidance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you need as well as the technology you want.