The Issue With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids


We’re seeing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some serious worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.

A Hearing Exam is Still Important

The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid online or at the store without going through essential steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which solution is right for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.

Not All Hearing Loss is Equal

Most people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.

But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.

The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is called analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.

You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. One issue that customers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can impair your hearing. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.

Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct solution for your requirements.

The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an essential part of your overall health.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.