Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Exam is Still Necessary
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be hard to know what the right 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.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
In general, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you have a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Consumers have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical choices with your hearing aids:
Make sure you aren’t getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct solution for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the best choice. But it’s important to remember that most of these issues can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.