We all love convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future could call for further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you so a bit of caution is needed. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden 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. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all kinds of hearing impairment. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your scenario.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all situations. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function 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. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
- 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.
- A good fit: We help you pick a design and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come see us for advice.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in addition to the technology you want.