Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this wonderful vision of the future may call for further investigation.
A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to know what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other types of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced somewhat.
But it’s a little more complex than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your situation.
This process should, at least theoretically, allow you to select the best device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient with regards to your hearing.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.
When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they miss out on:
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: We can make several types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for louder situations like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most out of 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.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with style and fit when you go through us. In some cases, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come see us for advice.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little caution when making your selection, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.