The Issue With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more frequently in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it convenient to get assistance with hearing loss. They also may make this kind of device more affordable. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused a lot of concern among both medical experts and the government. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a couple of concerns.

Don’t Overlook a Hearing Exam

One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing test. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.

Not All Hearing Loss is The Same

Generally, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of decreasing of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly goes down.

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

The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will typically be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it on your own, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex form of hearing loss.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

Consumers have more choices when it comes to devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve most likely experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to pick something to watch.

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

Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One problem that consumers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn the volume up on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. After all, you probably 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 boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.

Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s incredibly beneficial to speak with us first. We can find out how complex your hearing impairment is with a basic hearing test. It may or may not be a good strategy to go with an OTC hearing aid. We can also do an audiogram, so you’ll be capable of choosing the correct strategy for your requirements.

The best solution is often not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to remember that most of these problems can be easily solved with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. It’s worthwhile to take the time to get some assistance first because hearing is a significant 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.