Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. But medical professionals and even government officials have some serious worries about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. Without these steps, you can’t really know which plan is right for you. Also, your hearing loss may be connected to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: the volume rapidly goes down.
But actual hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, people have the largest selection of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. One problem that people have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. After all, you likely don’t require all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to talk with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best strategy for your requirements.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But it’s important to consider that most of these problems can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is essential to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.