We all enjoy convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to grasp how this would seem attractive. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little further.
Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is needed. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the correct solution should be. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be effectively addressed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your scenario.
This process should, at least theoretically, enable you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real problems can start when you actually go to your local store to try and find the correct device for you.
The Responsibility Part
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty great. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate effectively in several common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder situations like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- A good fit: We help you pick a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is essential. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.