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 instruments. They also might make this type of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry among 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
The concept 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 concern. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which solution is right for you. Additionally, your hearing loss may be connected to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
Many people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality versions). 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 likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
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. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an assessment with us whichever way you decide to go. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. You will be in a more informed position to determine which solution fits your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to consider that most of these issues can be easily worked out with some personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is critical to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.