We’re seeing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
The idea that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing exam is a significant worry. It will be impossible to know what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss might be related to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is instantaneous: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you have a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it by yourself. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
People have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably 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 marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. One issue that customers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be louder, just the ones that you can’t hear currently. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s really important to have a consultation with us whichever way you choose to go. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to decide which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best option is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and education, most of these challenges can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.