Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future may require further investigation.
A little caution is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. 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.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have improved to some extent.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The fact is that some types of hearing loss can’t be effectively addressed using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least theoretically, permit you to select the best device for your hearing loss situation. The real problems can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty great. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding when we said it places a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common settings. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- A good fit: You can get help with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit 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. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always 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, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.