Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to recognize how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future may call for further investigation.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to know what’s what. 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?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But it’s a little more complex than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all kinds of hearing impairment. Even if your particular form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your scenario.
This strategy should, at least in theory, allow you to choose the right device for your hearing loss situation. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty great. Some people will 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.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- A good fit: You can get help with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate effectively in several common situations. As an example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- 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 working the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for advice.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.