Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more frequently online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Examination
The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid online or at the store without going through important steps like a hearing exam is a serious concern. It will be impossible to recognize what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss may be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. One problem that people have encountered is recognizing 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 does. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you choose to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to choose which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to remember that most of these problems can be simply worked out with some personal education and a professional assessment. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.