We’re seeing more examples, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because they have received complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.
A Hearing Exam is Still Needed
The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing test is a significant concern. It will be difficult to recognize what the correct plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. Also, your hearing loss might be linked to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.
There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a lowering 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 gets quiet.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, impacting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you could actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.
The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a pretty decent job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some help 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
Right now, consumers have the widest array of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some wise decisions with your hearing aids:
Be certain you aren’t getting a hearing amplifier. One issue that consumers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. Where a hearing aid will raise only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower end which could damage your hearing.
Talk to us. It’s very important to have an assessment with us whichever way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a smart plan to go with an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to determine which solution meets your needs when you get an audiogram.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the best 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 evaluation. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.