Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently in stores and online. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also increase the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have received complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
A Hearing Test is Still Important
One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, like having a hearing consultation and hearing examination. It will be difficult to recognize what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.
There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is instantaneous: the volume rapidly decreases.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. 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 sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
Right now, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But it’s also more difficult to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some wise choices with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. One issue that consumers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will dull the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us in the loop. It’s really important to have a consultation with us either way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing impairment is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best strategy for your needs.
The best option is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional assistance and knowledge, most of these challenges can be overcome. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an essential part of your general health.