Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to understand how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit further.
Store bought hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you so a little caution is required. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. Those decisions have fairly high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have improved somewhat.
But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should get a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
- Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your specific hearing loss criteria will identify what the proper solution should be. The reality is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be effectively treated with over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.
Theoretically, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will work well in all environments. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: You can get help with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common environments. As an example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
When you come in for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and including your hearing specialist will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you need in conjunction with the technology you want.