We all enjoy convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this positive vision of the future could require further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you so a bit of caution is required. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have improved to some extent.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- 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 particular hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your amount of hearing loss and that will work well in all situations. That doesn’t always mean your local pharmacy will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. 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 placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common environments. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for noisier 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 complicated to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
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 conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.