Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this rosy vision of the future a bit more.
Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a bit of caution is required. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. 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. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have improved to some extent.
But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complex than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:
- You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing screening.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all kinds of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.
This strategy should, at least in theory, allow you to pick the right device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the right device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.
Consumers will lose out on the following things if they decide to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:
- A good fit: We help you choose a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is essential. Fit also affects your ability to hear. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common situations. For instance, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. If you want to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is crucial.
- A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.
- Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is working the way it was meant for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they’re tiny. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
When you come see us for some hearing guidance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.
It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get the care you need.