We all love convenience. So it’s easy to understand the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this wonderful vision of the future a bit more.
A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you. And that puts lots of burden on consumers like you to know all of the facts. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.
What Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds so they can compensate for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in doing this, have improved somewhat.
But it’s a bit more complex than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The reality is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently managed using over-the-counter devices. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.
This process should, at least in theory, allow you to select the best device for your hearing loss situation. The real problems can start when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the best device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all seems pretty good, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose 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. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various kinds of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function effectively in a number of everyday situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for louder scenarios like crowded restaurants. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
- A good fit: You can get assistance with style and fit when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort 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 affected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
When you come in for some hearing advice, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in addition to the technology you want.