Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to grasp how this would seem attractive. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But this wonderful vision of the future might require deeper investigation.
Store bought hearing aids may start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is needed. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. The stakes of those decisions are relatively high; get it wrong and your hearing could suffer. So, with great convenience comes great responsibility.
What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?
Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have advanced somewhat.
But it’s a bit more complex than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:
- You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
- Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
- You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. The truth is that some types of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently addressed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.
Theoretically, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will work well in all conditions. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and buy the right device for you.
The Part About Responsibility
In theory, this most likely all sounds pretty good. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.
When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they lose out on:
- A good fit: We help you pick out a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to experience feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
- A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
- Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
- Testing: When you get fitted for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
- Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is essential.
When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.
We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make sure you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.