Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more often online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot 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. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over necessary steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. It will be impossible to know what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Many people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything gets quiet.
But actual hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. And you may still need some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some wise choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower end which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. You will be in a more informed position to determine which option meets your needs when you have an audiogram.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the best solution. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is a significant part of your general health.