Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not hard to understand how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this positive vision of the future a little more.
A little caution is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What’s 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 designed to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all kinds of hearing impairment. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all conditions. The real hassles can start when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A good fit: We help you pick a design and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common settings. For instance, we can program settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
When you come in for some hearing assistance, 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 always a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.