Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often in stores and online. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Exam
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with essential steps like a hearing exam is a significant 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 linked to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to set up the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering 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 rapidly decreases.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The exact frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex type of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
Right now, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely 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’re not buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very important to speak with us first. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. 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 solution meets your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best choice is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional assistance and education, most of these challenges can be overcome. Hearing is crucial to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.