We all love convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to recognize how this would seem appealing. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little further.
Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to understand what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.
But it’s a little more complex than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing screening and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s correct for your amount of hearing loss and that will work well in all environments. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. 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, this is 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.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- A good fit: We help you select a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can sometimes be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. 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.
- Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. 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’re 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.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.