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 frequently online and in stores. These devices are meant to make it easier to get help for hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing assistance. But medical experts and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the repercussions 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.

Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination

One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect necessary steps in the process, like having a hearing consultation and hearing test. Without these steps, you can’t really know which plan is correct for you. Additionally, your hearing loss may be linked to other health concerns which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.

There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss

Many 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 instantaneous: the volume rapidly goes down.

But actual hearing loss is more like fooling around with the eq levels on a high-end stereo (or your music app on your computer). That’s because hearing loss is usually irregular, impacting this frequency or that wavelength before others. If your hearing aid, OTC or otherwise, is not correctly calibrated for your particular hearing loss, you could end up damaging your entire hearing.

The most sophisticated OTC hearing aids do a fairly decent job of displaying on their packaging which frequencies they are boosting. If you are going to try to do it by yourself, then you will want to begin with a recent audiogram. And you may still require some help with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex kind of hearing loss.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Choices

People have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But it’s also more challenging to make some decisions because there are so many options. 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 good choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Be certain you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One problem that customers 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. Obviously, you only need to boost the wavelengths you have difficulty hearing. If your hearing is poor in the high register, you obviously don’t require to boost the lower frequencies which could harm your hearing.

Talk to us. It’s really important to have a consultation with us either way you decide to go. We can check your hearing to see just how complex your hearing impairment is. It may or may not be a smart strategy to choose an OTC hearing aid. You will be in a more informed position to decide which option fits your needs when you get an audiogram.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best choice. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these challenges can be overcome. Hearing is essential to your over-all health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated 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.