Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to comprehend how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no fitting and no waiting. But this positive vision of the future may call for deeper investigation.
Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have advanced to some extent.
But it’s a little more complicated than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed with over-the-counter devices. Even if your distinct type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your scenario.
This strategy should, at least theoretically, permit you to pick the best device for your hearing loss situation. The real issues can begin when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds 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 choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in a number of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder situations like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are just 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. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.