Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this positive vision of the future may require further investigation.
Over the counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you so a little caution is needed. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to 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 purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complex 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.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your situation.
In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s correct for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all environments. That doesn’t automatically mean your local store will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: You can get guidance with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. Achieving a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. 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: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.
It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a little caution when making your selection, and including your hearing specialist will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in addition to the technology you want.