Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little more.
Over the counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is needed. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But it’s a little more involved than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
- Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some forms 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 select one that will work best for your scenario.
This strategy should, at least in theory, enable you to pick the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with 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, here’s what they lose out on:
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will function efficiently in a number of common situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: When you get fitted 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 meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging 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 adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.