Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to grasp the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little further.
Over the counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is required. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The fact is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be effectively addressed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.
This process should, at least in theory, permit you to pick the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the right 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.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate efficiently in a number of common situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
When you come in for some hearing advice, these are just 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 making your selection, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.