We’re observing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these devices. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Test
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. It will be hard to identify what the correct solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. Additionally, your hearing loss might be linked to other health problems 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
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: everything goes quiet.
But real hearing loss is more like messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it by yourself. And you may still need some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of someone that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
Consumers have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are advertised to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s very important to have a consultation with us either way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to determine which option meets your needs when you get an audiogram.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of these issues can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. It’s important to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.