Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more frequently online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also may make this type of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Needed
The idea that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with important steps like a hearing exam is a significant worry. It will be difficult to know what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Generally, people have a tendency 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 result is immediate: the volume rapidly decreases.
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). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Right now, people have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also more difficult 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 choose something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some practical choices with your hearing aids:
Make sure you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And that can be bad for your ears over time. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Speak with us. It’s really important to have a consultation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the right solution for your requirements.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be overcome. It’s important to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an important part of your general health.