Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get assistance with hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Test is Still Needed
The idea that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing exam is a serious worry. Without these steps, you can’t really know which plan is correct for you. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: the volume rapidly decreases.
But actual hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). 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 correctly calibrated.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some wise choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be louder, just the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.
Keep us involved. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct strategy for your requirements.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional assistance and education, most of these obstacles can be overcome. Hearing is crucial to your overall health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.