Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not hard to comprehend how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this rosy vision of the future may call for deeper investigation.
A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But it’s a little more challenging than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be effectively addressed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your scenario.
This process should, at least theoretically, enable you to pick the proper device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and find the correct device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common settings. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come see us for advice.
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 caution, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.