Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to comprehend the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this rosy vision of the future could call for deeper investigation.
Store bought hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you so a bit of caution is necessary. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more involved than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- 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 forms of hearing impairment. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.
This process should, at least theoretically, allow you to select the right device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t automatically mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:
- 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: We help you choose a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you require in conjunction with the technology you want.