We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also might make this kind of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have received complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.

Don’t Overlook a Hearing Exam

One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over important steps in the process, such as having a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which plan is right for you. Additionally, your hearing loss might be related to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.

Not All Hearing Loss is Identical

In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly 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). This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.

The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices

Right now, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely 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:

Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. One problem that consumers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. 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 boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.

Talk to us. It’s really important to have an assessment with us whichever way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to decide which option fits your needs when you get an audiogram.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal choice. But it’s important to consider that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional assessment. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.

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