Hearing Health Blog

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 maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. However, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of concern from both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are discussed below.

Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Test

The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without going through 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 related 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 just 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 goes quiet.

But actual hearing loss is more like playing around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). This occurs because different wavelengths and frequencies are impacted with hearing loss. So you could actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.

The particular frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality versions). If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can try to do it by yourself. And you may still want some help with the programming. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of customization you’ll need.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Decisions

Right now, people have the largest selection of hearing aid choices ever. But because there are so many choices, it also makes choosing the right one that much harder. This is called analysis paralysis, you likely experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.

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

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

Keep us involved. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can test your hearing to see exactly how complex your hearing impairment is. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. 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 best solution. But with a little professional assistance and knowledge, most of these obstacles can be overcome. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.

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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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