We’re seeing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also might make this type of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Needed
The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which plan is correct for you. Additionally, your hearing loss might be related to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: the volume rapidly goes down.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. 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 more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. 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
At this point in history, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more difficult to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a few ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Be certain you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. 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 probably don’t need all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us involved. Whether you opt 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 loss is. It may or may not be a good plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to decide which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best option is usually 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 a little personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is critical to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.