We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future may require deeper investigation.
A little caution is required because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to know what’s what. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But it’s a little more challenging than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your general 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 appropriate solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: You can get assistance with style and fit when you go through us. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step 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 better selection: We can fit you with one of the various styles of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. 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.
When you come in for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you need as well as the technology you want.