Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids – What You Should Know

Pharmacy aisle with over the counter hearing aids, but no one to help with selection or fitting.

We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a little more.

A little caution is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved somewhat.

But it’s a bit more complicated than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:

  • You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
  • Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
  • Your specific hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately treated with over-the-counter devices. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to choose one that will work best for your situation.

In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your degree of hearing loss and that will work well in all conditions. That doesn’t automatically mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t enough when it comes to your hearing.

The Part About Responsibility

Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding when we said it places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:

  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate efficiently in several common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier situations like crowded restaurants. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.
  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
  • Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
  • A good fit: You can get help 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 cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.

When you come in for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you receive the care you need.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.