Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently online and in stores. These devices 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 serious concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, such as getting a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. It will be difficult to recognize what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to set up the device for best results.
There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly decreases.
But actual hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.
The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you have an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still need some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more choices when it comes to 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. This is called analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a few ways you can make some wise decisions with your hearing aids:
Make sure you aren’t getting a hearing amplifier. One problem that consumers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And after a while, that can impair your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Keep us in the loop. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid might not be a good fit. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best solution for your needs.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s important to remember that most of these problems can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is crucial to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined first.