We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a little further.
Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a bit of caution is needed. And that puts a lot of burden on consumers like you to understand what’s what. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?
To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.
But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more involved than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the proper solution should be. The reality is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately addressed using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.
This process should, at least in theory, enable you to choose the correct device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t necessarily mean your local pharmacy will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your hearing.
The Responsibility Part
This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it places 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:
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate effectively in a number of everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet settings and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- A good fit: We help you select a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can occasionally be cast. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are making your selection, you should use some care, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need as well as the technology you want.