We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to recognize how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future could require deeper investigation.
A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; 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, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But it’s a bit more involved than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the proper solution should be. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular form of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your situation.
This strategy should, at least in theory, permit you to select the right device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A good fit: You can get guidance 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. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.