Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more frequently online and in stores. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing help. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from people who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
A Hearing Test is Still Important
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, such as having a hearing consultation and hearing test. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is right for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to set up the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Many people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: everything gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not properly calibrated.
The specific frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality versions). If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many choices. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
Here are a few ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be careful of this. 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 over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best solution for your requirements.
The best option is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with some professional help and education, most of these difficulties can be overcome. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your general health.