We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit further.
Store bought hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you so a little caution is needed. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to understand what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately addressed using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning 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.
- A good fit: We help you choose a design and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also effected 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 all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for advice.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.