We’re seeing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also may make this type of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the consequences 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 discussed below.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing exam is a serious worry. It will be hard to identify what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss may be connected to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
Many people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: 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 impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your overall hearing.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. 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.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. One issue that consumers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And over time, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have an evaluation with us either way you decide to go. We can check your hearing to see exactly 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 more informed position to determine which option meets your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to remember that most of these problems can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.