Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to grasp the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this rosy vision of the future could require deeper investigation.
A little caution is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to know what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have improved to some extent.
But it’s a little more involved than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. 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, allow you to choose the right device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t automatically mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will miss 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. You can be certain that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various kinds of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in several everyday situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. Achieving a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your selection, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.