Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Examination
The idea that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a serious worry. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is right for you. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have a recent audiogram you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some wise choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. One problem that consumers have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the right strategy for your needs.
The best option is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional assistance and education, most of these challenges can be conquered. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is a significant part of your general health.