Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more often in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Test
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like having a hearing consultation and hearing test. It will be hard to identify what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be related 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 The Same
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is instantaneous: everything gets quiet.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. This is called analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you’re not getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to increase 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 assessment with us either way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to determine which solution fits your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.