We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also may make this type of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some significant worries about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a few concerns.
Don’t Overlook a Hearing Examination
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 impossible to recognize what the best plan for your hearing loss is without these steps. You might also miss signs that your hearing loss is linked 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 lowering of the volume of sounds you hear. The result is immediate when you do that on your stereo: the volume quickly goes down.
But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This develops because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not precisely calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.
The particular frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to try to do it on your own, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re likely best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex form of hearing loss.
Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices
At this point in history, people have the widest array of hearing aid options ever. But because there are so many options, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to choose something to watch.
Here are a couple of ways you can make some smart decisions with your hearing aids:
Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be difficult to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain frequencies of sound, a hearing amplifier will just turn the volume up on everything. And after a while, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.
Keep us involved. It’s really important to have an assessment with us either way you choose to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a simple hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the best strategy for your requirements.
The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional assistance and knowledge, most of these challenges can be conquered. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some help first because hearing is an important part of your general health.