We’re observing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also may make this type of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are outlined below.
Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Examination
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 test. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is right for you. Also, 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 Types of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But real hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality versions). If you have a recent audiogram you can attempt to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids might not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.
How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices
People have more options in terms of 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. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.
You can make some good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:
Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will increase only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And that can be bad for your ears in the long run. Obviously, you only need to boost the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already able to hear.
Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. You will be in a more informed position to choose which option fits your needs when you get an audiogram.
The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to keep in mind that most of these problems can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s important to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant part of your overall health.