Pharmacy aisle with over the counter hearing aids, but no one to help with selection or fitting.

Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you’re able to go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this wonderful vision of the future could require further investigation.

A little care is important because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores around you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the buyer. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.

But the process of selecting an OTC hearing aid is a bit more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:

  • You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
  • Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
  • Your specific hearing loss criteria will determine what the proper solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your particular type of hearing loss can be handled in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your scenario.

In theory, this process will help you pick a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all environments. The real problems can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.

The Part About Responsibility

This all sounds pretty good, in theory. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.

When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:

  • Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will function efficiently in a number of everyday situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many kinds of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
  • A good fit: We help you pick a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Fit also affects your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.

When you come in for some hearing guidance, these are only some of the things we will help you with.

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a smart way to make certain you’re getting the care you require in addition to the technology you want.

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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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