Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit more.
A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But it’s a little more challenging than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. 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, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will determine what the correct solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all kinds of hearing impairment. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your amount of hearing loss and that will function well in all situations. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:
- A good fit: We help you choose 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. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it on a daily basis. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is working the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come in for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a bit of caution when making your selection, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.