We’re observing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also may make this type of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. It will be difficult to identify what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be related to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is instantaneous 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 real hearing loss. This happens 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 decent job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you have a recent audiogram you can try to do it on your own. And you may still require some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us either way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. You will be in a more informed position to choose which solution meets your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.