Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often online and in stores. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also increase 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 releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from people who have used them. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Exam
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over necessary steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing test. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which solution is correct for you. Additionally, your hearing loss may be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss tends to be irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct solution for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal solution. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your overall health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.