We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this wonderful vision of the future may require deeper investigation.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. 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 similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved somewhat.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing screening and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your scenario.
This strategy should, at least theoretically, allow you to pick the best device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the correct device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty great, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed 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:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will function effectively in several common situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This sort of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- 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 made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your selection, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.