Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to recognize how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this positive vision of the future a little further.
Over the counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is necessary. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. 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.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, are similar to other types of hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.
But it’s a little more complicated than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You should have 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 specific hearing loss criteria will identify what the proper solution should be. The fact is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated with over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
In theory, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all environments. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. Some people will 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.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: We help you pick out a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in a number of everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder situations like crowded restaurants. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for advice.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.