Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this wonderful vision of the future might call for further investigation.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have advanced to some extent.
But it’s a bit more complicated than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The truth is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as you can.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will perform well in all environments. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. For example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with style and fit when you go through us. In some cases, 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 crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.