We’re observing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get assistance with hearing loss. They also might make this kind of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test
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. It will be difficult to identify what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also miss signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is Equal
Most people think that hearing loss is simply 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: the volume rapidly decreases.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you have 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 requirements of someone that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much more difficult. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Speak with us. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly important to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. You will be in a better position to choose which solution fits your needs when you have an audiogram.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best solution. But it’s important to remember that most of these issues can be simply solved with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.