We’re seeing more examples, on TV and online, 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 help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Test
The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without going through essential steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. It will be impossible to know what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be related to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is instantaneous: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss tends to be asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The specific frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can try to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many options, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can impair 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 need to increase the lower end which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to talk with us first. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct strategy for your requirements.
The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional assistance and knowledge, most of these challenges can be overcome. Hearing is essential to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.