We’re seeing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this kind of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Test
The idea that you can just go buy a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. It will be hard to identify what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
Most 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 immediate: everything goes quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). 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 likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us in the loop. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the right strategy for your requirements.
The best option is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.