Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more frequently online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, such as having a hearing consultation and hearing examination. Without these steps, you can’t really know which plan is correct for you. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can try to do it by yourself. And you may still need some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart choices with your hearing aids:
Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct strategy for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal solution. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these problems can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is crucial to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.