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

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

A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. So, with great ease comes great responsibility.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, are similar to other kinds of hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds in order to compensate for the effects of hearing loss. In this way, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they used to be.

But it’s a little more complex than getting, say, a bottle of aspirin. Here’s how it should work:

  • You should have an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing assessment.
  • Your audiogram would give you an indication of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
  • You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your distinct form of hearing loss can be addressed in this way, you still need to decide on one that will work best for your scenario.

This strategy should, at least theoretically, allow you to choose the right device for your hearing loss situation. The real problems can start when you actually go to your local store to try and find the right device for you.

The Part About Responsibility

This all seems pretty great, 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 put on the consumer is no joke.

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

  • A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. As an example, we can create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
  • A good fit: You can get assistance with fit and style when you go through us. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Achieving a good fit will help make sure that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also test it’s functionality. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.

These are just a few of the advantages you get when you come in for assistance.

It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t always a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some care, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.

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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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