We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this wonderful vision of the future could require deeper investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you so a little caution is required. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly 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 situation.
This strategy should, at least theoretically, allow you to choose the proper device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function effectively in several everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- 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.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- A good fit: You can get guidance 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. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, 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 selecting your device, you should use some care, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you need in addition to the technology you want.