Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern among both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Exam is Still Needed
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing consultation and hearing test. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
In general, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is instantaneous: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The specific frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still require some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
At this point in history, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And over time, that can impair your hearing. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best solution for your requirements.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and education, most of these challenges can be overcome. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.