Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Exam
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, such as getting a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be difficult to know what the right solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss might be related to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly decreases.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, people have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. 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 acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a few ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:
Make sure you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that customers have run into is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be bad for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to talk with us first. We can check your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good match. 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 consider that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional assessment. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.