Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future might call for deeper investigation.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to understand 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. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have advanced to some extent.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will determine what the appropriate solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all kinds of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all situations. The real problems can start when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty great, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and let more people 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 decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in a number of common situations. For example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort 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 affected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come in for advice.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little bit of caution when making your selection, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.