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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. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this positive vision of the future could require further investigation.

A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores near you. And in order to know all of the facts, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. Those decisions have relatively high stakes; get it wrong and your hearing could pay the price. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

To some degree, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are designed to amplify sound. In this regard, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.

But it’s a bit more complex 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 general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
  • You would then adjust your choice of hearing solution to your specific hearing loss. The fact is that some kinds of hearing loss can’t be adequately managed using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.

Theoretically, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s right for your degree of hearing loss and that will function well in all conditions. That doesn’t always mean your local pharmacy will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t enough with regards to your hearing.

The Part About Responsibility

In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is placed 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:

  • Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be complicated to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to care for them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
  • Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was intended for you because it’s tested when you’re in the office.
  • Adjustments: We can make a few kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a number of common settings. For example, we can program settings for loud places such as restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • A good fit: You can get help with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. It’s important to wear your hearing aid on a daily basis so a good fit is essential. Your ability to hear is also effected by fit. You’ll be more likely to get feedback if the device isn’t snug in your ear.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.

When you come see us for some hearing assistance, these are just 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 little caution when making your choices, and in conjunction with getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you get 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.