We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Exam
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like getting a hearing consultation and hearing test. It will be impossible to recognize what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything goes quiet.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have a recent audiogram you can try to do it by yourself. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. One issue that customers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good match. You will be in a better position to choose which option fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and knowledge, most of these challenges can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.