The Problem With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

We’re observing more examples, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is supposed to be easier with these instruments. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the repercussions of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even issuing warnings because they have taken complaints from individuals who have used them. Some of these concerns are discussed below.

Don’t Miss a Hearing Test

One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over necessary steps in the process, like getting a hearing evaluation and hearing exam. It will be hard to know what the best solution for your hearing loss is without these steps. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is related to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know 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. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the effect is immediate: everything gets quiet.

But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally irregular, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your overall hearing.

The more sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly good job of indicating on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. And you may still need some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be customized to the requirements of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions

Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. This is known as analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.

Here are a few ways you can make some wise decisions with your hearing aids:

Make sure you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid does. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.

Keep us involved. It’s very important to have an evaluation with us whichever way you decide to go. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good plan to choose an OTC hearing aid. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the correct strategy for your needs.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the ideal choice. But with some professional help and education, most of these difficulties can be conquered. Hearing is crucial to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.

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.

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