The Problem With Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

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

Over-the-counter hearing aid options are appearing more often in stores and online. These devices are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also may make this type of device more affordable. 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 releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re receiving from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.

A Hearing Test is Still Necessary

One main concern of over-the-counter hearing aids is that you neglect essential steps in the process, like having a hearing evaluation and hearing examination. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is right for you. Also, your hearing loss might be related to other health concerns which you could miss. Hearing tests also let you know how to set up the device for best results.

There Are Different Degrees And Kinds of Hearing Loss

Most people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. The effect is immediate when you do that on your stereo: everything goes quiet.

But changing the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like real hearing loss. That’s because hearing loss is generally asymmetrical, affecting this frequency or that wavelength before others. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not correctly calibrated.

The particular frequencies that are being amplified by the OTC hearing aid will usually be printed on the box (at least on higher quality models). If you are going to attempt to do it by yourself, then you will want to start with a recent audiogram. Even then, you’re probably best off asking us to help program it. Sometimes, OTC hearing aids won’t be able to be personalized to the requirements of someone that has a more complex form of hearing loss.

Making Smart Hearing Aid Decisions

People have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But it’s also harder to make some decisions because there are so many options. You’ve probably experienced this kind of “analysis paralysis” when flipping through the channels and attempting to choose something to watch.

Here are a few ways you can make some practical choices with your hearing aids:

Make sure you’re not purchasing a hearing amplifier. One issue that consumers have run into is telling the difference between an OTC hearing aid and a hearing amplifier. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all frequencies of sound, not just specific frequencies like a hearing aid can. And over time, that can damage your hearing. After all, you probably don’t require all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. If your hearing is weak in the high register, you obviously don’t need to increase the lower end which could harm your hearing.

Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very beneficial to speak with us first. 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 do an audiogram, so you’ll be able to choose the best solution for your needs.

The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But it’s significant to consider that most of these problems can be simply solved with some personal education and a professional evaluation. Hearing is essential to your general health. It’s worth taking the extra step and get evaluated first.

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.