Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently online and in stores. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern among both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a couple of concerns.
A Hearing Experiment is Still Important
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, such as getting a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be impossible to identify what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss might be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Types of Hearing Loss
Generally, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.
But real hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it by yourself. And you may still want some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, people have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. 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 trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some practical decisions with your hearing aids:
Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that people have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Talk to us. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you choose to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart strategy 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.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional assistance and education, most of these obstacles can be overcome. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.