Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to understand the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little more.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near 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. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, 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 made to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But it’s a bit more complicated than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all conditions. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put 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:
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common settings. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your selection, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.