Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more frequently in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Test is Still Necessary
The concept that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without going through essential steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. It will be impossible to identify what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything goes quiet.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
Consumers have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us involved. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best strategy for your needs.
The best choice is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.