Here’s What You Should Understand About Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

Convenience is something we all enjoy. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But we may need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit more.

Store bought hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you so a bit of caution is needed. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the consumer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price 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. In order to counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced somewhat.

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

  • You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
  • Your audiogram would give you a readout of your overall hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
  • Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the correct solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your particular form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your scenario.

This process should, at least in theory, allow you to choose the correct device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the correct device for you.

The Part About Responsibility

This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding around when we said it places a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

When a consumer goes straight from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, here’s what they miss out on:

  • A good fit: We help you select a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
  • Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a variety of common situations. As an example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.
  • A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.

When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are just some of the things we will help you with.

It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your choices, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make certain you’re getting the care you need in conjunction with the technology you want.

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.