We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a couple of concerns.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Needed
The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a serious worry. It will be impossible to know what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be linked to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
In general, people tend 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 real hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
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 the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us either way you choose to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best solution for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal solution. But it’s important to remember that most of these issues can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.