We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to comprehend how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little further.
A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to understand 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 kinds of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should get 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. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately treated using over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your scenario.
This strategy should, at least theoretically, enable you to choose the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real issues can start when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- A good fit: We help you pick a style 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. 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. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. This type 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’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
When you come in for some hearing assistance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your selection, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in conjunction with the technology you want.