Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to realize the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this positive vision of the future a little further.
A little caution is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently addressed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all situations. 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
This all seems pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. 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 decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many styles of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- 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 sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in several everyday situations. As an example, we can create settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This type of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with fit and style when you go through us. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for assistance.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.