Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more frequently online and in stores. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Test is Still Necessary
The idea that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is right for you. Additionally, your hearing loss might be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything gets quiet.
But actual hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some wise decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could damage 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 just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to determine which option fits your needs when you get an audiogram.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But it’s significant to consider that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s important to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.