Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future may call for further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is needed. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to know what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other kinds of 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 the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more involved than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will identify what the correct solution should be. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you select a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all situations. The real issues can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re 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.
- A good fit: We help you pick out a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. 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.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
When you come in 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 selecting your device, 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.