Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this kind of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Test is Still Needed
The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. It will be hard to know what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss might be related to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss tends to be asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
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 are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. One issue that customers have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us in the loop. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you choose to go. We can check your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. You will be in a more informed position to decide which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best choice is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these challenges can be conquered. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.