We’re seeing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of worry from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination
The idea that you can just go buy a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing test is a serious concern. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is correct for you. Additionally, your hearing loss may be connected to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.
There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss
In general, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind 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 instantaneous: the volume quickly decreases.
But real hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it by yourself. And you may still need some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you aren’t getting a hearing amplifier. It can often be hard to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Speak with us. It’s very important to have a consultation with us either way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best solution for your needs.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these problems can be easily solved with some personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is crucial to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.