Man gets over-the-counter hearing aids without getting a hearing test.

Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more frequently online and in stores. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have received complaints from people who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.

Don’t Miss a Hearing Examination

The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing exam is a significant concern. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which solution is correct for you. Also, your hearing loss may be related to other health problems which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.

Not All Hearing Loss is Identical

Generally speaking, people have a tendency to think of hearing loss as a sort of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.

But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not accurately calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.

The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices

Consumers have more choices in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many options, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.

You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. One issue that consumers have encountered is recognizing the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be louder, only the ones that you can’t hear right now. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.

Keep us in the loop. It’s really important to have a consultation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing loss is. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to decide which solution meets your needs when you have an audiogram.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are frequently not the ideal solution. But with some professional assistance and education, most of these difficulties can be overcome. Hearing is crucial to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.