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

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

We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and get some hearing aids, it’s not hard to recognize how this would seem attractive. No waiting, no fitting, just instant gratification. But this rosy vision of the future could require further investigation.

Over the counter hearing aids may start popping up in stores around you so a bit of caution is needed. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to know all of the facts. 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?

In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has similarities with other hearing aids. The devices are designed to amplify sounds so they can correct for the effects of hearing loss. OTC hearing aids, in this regard, have advanced to some extent.

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

  • You should have a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
  • Your audiogram would give you an indication of your general hearing health, including what frequencies of sound you need assistance hearing.
  • Your distinct hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The fact is, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all kinds of hearing impairment. Even if your specific type of hearing loss can be treated in this way, you still need to pick one that will work best for your situation.

This process should, at least in theory, allow you to select the right device for your hearing loss situation. The real hassles can start when you actually go to your local store to try and find the best device for you.

The Responsibility Part

This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people might be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But the amount of responsibility that is put on the consumer is no joke.

Consumers will miss out on the following things if they choose to go from their audiogram to an OTC hearing aid:

  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the many styles of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will function efficiently in several everyday situations. For instance, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. This sort of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • A good fit: We help you pick a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to ensure a custom fit and maximum comfort. Getting a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
  • Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be challenging to program. How to care for your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
  • Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making certain it works as intended for you.

When you come in for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.

We’re not saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. It’s just that you need to use a little caution when making your choices, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.

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.