Pharmacy aisle with over the counter hearing aids, but no one to help with selection or fitting.

Convenience is something we all enjoy. So it’s easy to realize the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit more.

Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you so a bit of caution is required. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have improved somewhat.

But it’s a bit more involved than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:

  • You should get a hearing assessment and receive an audiogram.
  • Your general hearing health, specifically what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. The fact is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately treated using over-the-counter devices. 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.

This process should, at least theoretically, allow you to pick the proper 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 Part About Responsibility

Theoretically, this most likely 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 around when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they lose out on:

  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
  • 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 create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
  • Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
  • A good fit: We help you select a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
  • A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.

When you come see us for some hearing advice, these are only some of the things we will help you with.

It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your selection, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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