We’re seeing more examples, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also may make this type of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Needed
The idea that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without going through essential steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. It will be hard to recognize what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result 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. That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, impacting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that customers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Talk to us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to determine which option fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to keep in mind that most of these issues can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.