Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant worries 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. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Exam
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. It will be impossible to identify what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss may be related to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to set up the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is instantaneous: everything gets quiet.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex kind of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some smart choices with your hearing aids:
Make sure you aren’t buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be hard to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. It’s really important to have an assessment with us either way you decide to go. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a smart plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the right solution for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal choice. But with a little professional assistance and education, most of these difficulties can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.