We’re seeing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, such as having a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is right for you. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything gets quiet.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is generally irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
At this point in history, people have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Be certain you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to talk with us first. We can check your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. You will be in a more informed position to choose which option fits your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these problems can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is essential to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.