Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing consultation and hearing exam. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which plan is correct for you. Also, your hearing loss may be linked to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is just a reduction 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 goes quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices when it comes to 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 harder. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Talk to us. It’s very important to have an assessment with us whichever way you choose to go. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best strategy for your requirements.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and education, most of these difficulties can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.