We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get assistance with hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Test is Still Important
The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. It will be difficult to identify what the right plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Right now, people have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us involved. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. You will be in a more informed position to determine which solution meets your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best option is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and education, most of these obstacles can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.