We’re observing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Test is Still Important
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing evaluation and hearing test. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You might also fail to recognize 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 an exam.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.
But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you have a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still need some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much more difficult. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a few ways you can make some smart choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best solution for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best choice. But with a little professional help and education, most of these challenges can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.