We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future could require further investigation.
Store bought hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is required. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. 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 so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced to some extent.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:
- You should get a hearing screening and receive an audiogram.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the proper solution should be. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated using over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s correct for your amount of hearing loss and that will work well in all situations. The real problems can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A good fit: We help you pick out a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is crucial. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come see us for assistance.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.