We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of hearing aids that you can get at your local store or pharmacy. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this rosy vision of the future may require deeper investigation.
Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you so a little caution is necessary. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. 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. The devices are manufactured to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved somewhat.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
This process should, at least theoretically, enable you to pick the best device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and find the correct device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: We help you pick a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. 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 affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it effectively, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come in for advice.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.