Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more frequently in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over important steps in the process, such as getting a hearing evaluation and hearing test. It will be hard to identify what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Many people think that hearing loss is just 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 immediate: everything gets quiet.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more difficult 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:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. 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 meets your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best choice is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.