We’re seeing more examples, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also might make this type of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Test
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like getting a hearing consultation and hearing exam. It will be difficult to recognize what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss may be connected to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly decreases.
But real hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it by yourself. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Make sure you aren’t buying 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 turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can impair your hearing. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can check your hearing to see just 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 able to choose the correct strategy for your needs.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be overcome. Hearing is critical to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.