Convenience is something we all love. So if you can go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not hard to recognize how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a bit more.
Store bought hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is needed. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to understand what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But it’s a bit more complex than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing assessment.
- Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be adequately treated using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
This strategy should, at least in theory, allow you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in a number of common situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with style and fit when you go through us. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. 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.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.