We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit further.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. 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.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have advanced to some extent.
But it’s a little more challenging than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all forms of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
This strategy should, at least in theory, enable you to pick the best device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local store 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 most likely all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and let more people 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 decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common environments. For example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- 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.
- A good fit: We help you select a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.