We’re seeing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these devices. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.
A Hearing Test is Still Needed
One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect important steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. Without these steps, you can’t really know which plan is right for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
Not All Hearing Loss is The Same
In general, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of lowering 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 messing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.
The more advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still want some assistance with the programming. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions
People have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Make sure you aren’t purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that consumers have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears over time. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Talk to us. It’s really important to have a consultation with us whichever way you choose to go. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the right solution for your needs.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and education, most of these obstacles can be overcome. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.