We all enjoy convenience. So if you can go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little further.
A little care 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 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, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But it’s a bit more involved than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should get a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your overall hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
This process should, at least in theory, enable you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. 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.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in a number of common situations. 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 the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
When you come in for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.