We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit further.
A little caution is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have advanced to some extent.
But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the correct solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all types of hearing impairment. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.
In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will work well in all environments. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty great. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will function efficiently in several everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: We help you pick a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.