The Issue With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

Man gets over-the-counter hearing aids without getting a hearing test.

We’re observing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.

A Hearing Test is Still Needed

The concept that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. It will be hard to recognize what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. 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.

There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss

Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.

But actual hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.

The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you have a recent audiogram you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many options, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.

Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:

Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. 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 require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.

Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to choose which solution meets your needs when you have an audiogram.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But with some professional assistance and education, most of these obstacles can be overcome. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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