Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more often in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some practical choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And that can be bad for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us in the loop. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. You will be in a better position to decide which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional assistance and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be overcome. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.