We’re observing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry from 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 outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with important steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. It will be hard to recognize what the right solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. 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
Most people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But actual hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This develops 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 correctly calibrated.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this kind 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:
Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be bad for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower end which could harm your hearing.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an assessment with us either way you choose to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the right solution for your needs.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be easily 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.