We’re seeing more examples, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Test is Still Needed
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be hard to know what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize 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.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.
But real hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, impacting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you have a recent audiogram you can try to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. One problem that consumers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct strategy for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best choice. But it’s significant to remember that most of these problems can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.