We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also increase the affordability of hearing help. But medical professionals 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 of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.
Don’t Miss a Hearing Exam
The idea that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without going through important steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. It will be difficult to recognize what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. Hearing tests also inform you of how to program the device for best results.
Not All Hearing Loss is Identical
Most people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly decreases.
But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss tends to be irregular, affecting 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 exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it on your own. And you may still need some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
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 more difficult to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve most likely experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart choices with your hearing aids:
Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One problem that people have encountered is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. 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 dull the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s really important to have an assessment with us whichever way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a better position to determine which solution meets your needs when you have an audiogram.
The best choice is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these difficulties can be conquered. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your overall health.