Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, like having a hearing consultation and hearing exam. It will be hard to recognize what the right plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.
But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex kind of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
At this point in history, people have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be careful of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And over time, that can impair your hearing. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be louder, just the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a simple hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best solution for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best choice. But with some professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be overcome. It’s important to take the time to get some help first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.