Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to grasp the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this wonderful vision of the future might require further investigation.
A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know what’s what. Those decisions have fairly 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, to a certain extent, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have improved somewhat.
But it’s a bit more complex than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.
This strategy should, at least theoretically, allow you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in a number of everyday situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. Achieving 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. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, 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.