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Convenience is something we all love. So it’s easy to understand the attraction of hearing aids that you can buy at your local pharmacy or store. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future may require deeper investigation.

Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know 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. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced to some extent.

But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. It should work like this:

  • You should get a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
  • Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your distinct hearing loss. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.

This process should, at least theoretically, allow you to choose the best device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store 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 the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.

When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:

  • 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 sure it works as intended for you.
  • A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common environments. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. 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.
  • A good fit: We help you select a style 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. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.

These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come see us for assistance.

We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you should use a little bit of caution when making your selection, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.

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