We all love convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future might call for further investigation.
A little caution is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved 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 screening.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be effectively managed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all situations. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local store will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
Theoretically, this most likely all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on 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.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: We help you select a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Achieving a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common settings. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure 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 see us for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.