Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little more.
A little caution is required because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. 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?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved to some extent.
But it’s a bit more challenging than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your overall hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will determine what the proper solution should be. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be effectively treated using over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will work well in all conditions. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty great, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t joking when we said it places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they lose out on:
- A good fit: We help you choose a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. For example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous styles of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come see us for advice.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.