Hearing Health Blog

Man gets over-the-counter hearing aids without getting a hearing test.

We’re observing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.

Don’t Overlook a Hearing Exam

The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.

There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss

Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort 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 adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.

The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions

Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.

You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. One problem that customers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And that can be bad for your ears over time. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower end which could harm your hearing.

Talk to us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to talk with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best strategy for your needs.

The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional assistance and education, most of these difficulties can be conquered. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your general health.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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