We all love convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem attractive. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this wonderful vision of the future could require further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is required. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.
But it’s a little more challenging than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately addressed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
This strategy should, at least in theory, allow you to select the proper device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty great. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in a number of everyday situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.