We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this positive vision of the future might require deeper investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is needed. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have improved to some extent.
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 receive an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all forms of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
This strategy should, at least in theory, enable you to select 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 Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they lose out on:
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis 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: 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 adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common environments. For example, we can program settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many kinds of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out 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 get the care you need.