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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 grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a bit more.

Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.

What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?

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 manufactured to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced to some extent.

But it’s a bit more complicated than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:

  • You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
  • Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. The truth is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently addressed 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.

Theoretically, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will function well in all situations. The real issues can start when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the right device for you.

The Responsibility Part

In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:

  • Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
  • A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function effectively in a number of everyday situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
  • 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. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.

When you come see us for some hearing assistance, 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. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and including your hearing specialist will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.

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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.