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

We all enjoy convenience. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to understand how this would seem appealing. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future might call for deeper investigation.

A little caution is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the responsibility falls on the buyer. If you don’t get it right your hearing could pay the price which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.

But the process of purchasing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of ibuprofen. Here’s how it should work:

  • You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
  • Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
  • You would then match your choice of hearing solution to your particular hearing loss. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all forms of hearing impairment. Even if your specific form of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to select one that will work best for your situation.

In theory, this process will help you select a hearing device that’s correct for your degree of hearing loss and that will perform well in all conditions. That doesn’t automatically mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t sufficient when it comes to your hearing.

The Part About Responsibility

Theoretically, this most likely all sounds pretty great. For some, OTC hearing aids will cut down on the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding when we said it places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

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

  • Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. 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.
  • Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common settings. As an example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • A better selection: We offer a wide variety of hearing aids, at various price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. 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.
  • A good fit: You can get help with fit and style when you go through us. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.

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

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a bit of caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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