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

Over-the-counter hearing aid options are showing up more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also maximize the affordability of hearing help. Unfortunately, using over-the-counter hearing aids has caused quite a bit of worry among both medical professionals and the government. Some states are even issuing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.

Don’t Neglect Getting a Hearing Examination

The concept that you can just go purchase a hearing aid at the store or online without going through important steps like a hearing exam is a serious concern. Without these steps, it’s impossible to know which plan is right for you. Also, your hearing loss might be linked to other health problems which you could miss. We can also help you figure out what the best settings will be when you come in for a test.

Not All Hearing Loss is Identical

Generally speaking, people tend to think of hearing loss as a kind of lowering of the volume meter on your ears. The result is instantaneous when you do that on your stereo: the volume rapidly 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). That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, influencing this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing additional damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.

The exact frequencies that are being boosted by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you’ve had an audiogram recently you can attempt to do it by yourself. And you may still require some assistance with the programming. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the needs of somebody that has a more complex type of hearing loss.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

People have more options when it comes to devices to help with hearing than at any point in history. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. This is called analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most acutely when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix.

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

Some amplification devices are advertised to look like hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid does. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. After all, you likely don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, just the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to boost the lower frequencies which could damage your hearing.

Keep us involved. It’s really important to have an assessment with us either way you decide to go. We can figure out how complex your hearing loss is with a basic hearing test. An OTC hearing aid may not be a good match. We can also provide you with an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best solution for your needs.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are often not the best choice. But it’s significant to consider that most of these issues can be simply worked out with a little personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is critical to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get examined first.

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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.