Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem attractive. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little more.
Store bought hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you so a little caution is needed. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.
But it’s a little more complicated than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some forms 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 you can.
This process should, at least in theory, enable you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient with regards to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all sounds pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they lose out on:
- Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- A good fit: You can get guidance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. How to care for 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.
- A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
When you come in for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and including your hearing specialist will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you require in conjunction with the technology you want.