Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a serious concern. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which plan is correct for you. Also, your hearing loss may be linked to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss tends to be irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.
The exact frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality versions). If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely best 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
At this point in history, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. One problem that consumers have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. 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 damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Talk to us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good match. You will be in a better position to determine which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and education, most of these challenges can be overcome. Hearing is essential to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.