The Problem With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids


Man gets over-the-counter hearing aids without getting a hearing test.

Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more often in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. 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 releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.

Don’t Miss a Hearing Test

One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing test. It will be hard to recognize what the right plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.

Not All Hearing Loss is The Same

Many people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.

But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.

The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions

Consumers have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.

You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Be certain you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. One issue that people have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.

Keep us in the loop. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a good strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best strategy for your needs.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal solution. But with some professional assistance and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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