Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little further.
A little caution is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to know what’s what. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.
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, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently addressed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.
This strategy should, at least in theory, enable you to choose the proper device for your hearing loss situation. The real problems can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease 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 miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common settings. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.