Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are appearing more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some serious worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a serious concern. It will be hard to know what the right plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
Generally, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: the volume quickly goes down.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is usually asymmetrical, impacting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Be certain you aren’t buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to determine which solution meets your needs when you get 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 obstacles can be conquered. Hearing is essential to your overall health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.