Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to recognize how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit more.
Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. It should work like this:
- You should have a hearing screening and receive an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your specific hearing loss parameters will determine what the correct solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
In theory, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s right for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all conditions. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: You can get assistance with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. Getting a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in a number of everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come see us for assistance.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you should use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you need as well as the technology you want.