Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more often online and in stores. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant concerns 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. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination
The idea that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with essential steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is right for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
In general, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The effect 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 music 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 precisely calibrated.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Right now, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:
Make sure you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. It can often be difficult 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 that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct solution for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best solution. But it’s important to consider that most of these problems can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.