We all love convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to comprehend how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this positive vision of the future a little more.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to understand what’s what. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- 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, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your situation.
This process should, at least theoretically, permit you to pick the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. 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 put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of 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. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. 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 is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test 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.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in several common situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for advice.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.