Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also increase the affordability of hearing help. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious worries about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Test is Still Important
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing test. It will be impossible to identify what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us involved. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to talk with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a smart strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the right strategy for your requirements.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to consider that most of these issues can be simply worked out with some personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.