We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little further.
Over the counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is needed. And in order to know all of the facts, 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 convenience comes great responsibility.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little 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 a readout of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will determine what the correct solution should be. The fact is that some types of hearing loss can’t be effectively addressed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. The real issues can start when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they miss out on:
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in several everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- A good fit: We help you pick out a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come see us for assistance.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.