Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this wonderful vision of the future could call for further investigation.
A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. In order to 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 complex than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. The reality is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be effectively treated using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
This process should, at least theoretically, allow you to select the best device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding when we said it places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous kinds of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will function efficiently in a number of 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 from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come in for advice.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.