The Problem With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

We’re seeing more instances, online and on TV, of over-the-counter hearing aids. Getting help for hearing loss is meant to be easier with these instruments. They also might make this type of device more affordable. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Here are just a few concerns.

A Hearing Experiment is Still Important

One main problem with over-the-counter hearing aids is that you skip over necessary steps in the process, such as getting a hearing consultation and hearing exam. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is correct for you. You may also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is connected to other health concerns. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for an exam.

There Are Different Levels And Kinds of Hearing Loss

Many people think that hearing loss is simply a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is immediate: the volume quickly goes down.

But real hearing loss is more like fooling 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 most advanced OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are amplifying. If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can try to do it by yourself. Even then, you’re probably better off asking us to help program it. When your hearing loss is especially complex, OTC hearing aids may not offer the kind of customization you’ll need.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

At this point in history, consumers 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 more difficult. You’ve probably experienced this type of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and trying to pick something to watch.

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

Some amplification devices are marketed to look like hearing aids so be careful of this. 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 can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. Obviously, you only need to increase the frequencies you have trouble hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to increase the lower end which could damage your hearing.

Speak with us. It’s really important to have a consultation with us either way you decide to go. We can figure 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. You will be in a more informed position to decide which option meets your needs when you get an audiogram.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best solution. But it’s significant to remember that most of these problems can be easily worked out with a little personal education and a professional assessment. Hearing is crucial to your general health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get examined 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.