Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem appealing. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future might call for further investigation.
A little caution is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other types of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced somewhat.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should get a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will determine what the correct solution should be. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately addressed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your scenario.
Theoretically, this process will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. The real issues can start when you actually go to your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Responsibility Part
In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed 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:
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common environments. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- 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 sure it works as intended for you.
- A good fit: We help you select a design and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
When you come in for some hearing guidance, 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 selection, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.