The Trouble With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

Over-the-counter hearing aid choices are showing up more often online and in stores. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get help for hearing loss. They also might make this kind of device more affordable. 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 issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Here are just a few concerns.

A Hearing Experiment is Still Necessary

The concept that you can just go buy a hearing aid online or at the store without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a serious worry. Without these steps, it is impossible to know which solution is correct for you. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you determine what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.

There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss

Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: everything gets quiet.

But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your audio app on your computer). This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. If your hearing aid, over-the-counter or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your specific hearing loss, you could wind up damaging your entire hearing.

The specific frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the packaging (at least on higher quality models). If you have an audiogram recently you can try to do it on your own. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is particularly complex, OTC hearing aids might not offer the kind of personalization you’ll need.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices

Right now, consumers have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But it’s also more difficult to make some decisions because there are so many choices. This is called analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.

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

Make sure you’re not buying a hearing amplifier. It can often be challenging to tell the difference. Where a hearing aid will boost only certain wavelengths of sound, a hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on everything. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.

Keep us in the loop. Whether you opt to go OTC or not, it’s very important to talk with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good fit. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best strategy for your requirements.

The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and education, most of these obstacles can be conquered. It’s beneficial to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is an essential part of your overall health.

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.