We’re seeing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get assistance with hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Examination
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing consultation and hearing exam. It will be impossible to know what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss may be linked to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Many people think that hearing loss is just 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 instantaneous: the volume quickly decreases.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is generally irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality versions). If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that consumers have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have an assessment with us whichever way you choose to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct solution for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best solution. But it’s significant to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.