Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Necessary
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, such as having a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is right for you. Also, your hearing loss may be linked to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything goes quiet.
But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). 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 want some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Right now, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And that can be bad for your ears in the long run. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a good strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to decide which option fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to consider that most of these issues can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is crucial to your overall health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.