Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit more.
Store bought hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you so a bit of caution is necessary. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved to some extent.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your overall hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will determine what the proper solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least theoretically, enable you to pick the best device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with 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:
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in a number of everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder situations like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- A good fit: We help you pick a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.