Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. However, 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 people who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Examination
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be difficult to identify what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also more difficult to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. One problem that customers have run into is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best solution for your requirements.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be overcome. It’s important to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.