We all love convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to understand how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this rosy vision of the future may call for further investigation.
Store bought hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you so a bit of caution is needed. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to know 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 kinds of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to 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 little more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
- 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 parameters will determine what the proper solution should be. The fact is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be effectively treated with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least theoretically, enable you to select the proper device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t automatically mean your local store will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they miss out on:
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- A good fit: We help you select 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 cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common settings. For example, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.