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 can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not difficult to grasp how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But we may need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit more.

Store bought hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And in order to know what’s what, a lot of the burden falls on the consumer. Those decisions have fairly 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?

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

But it’s a little more complicated than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:

  • You should get a hearing assessment and get an audiogram.
  • Your general hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • Your specific hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t properly treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make certain you get as close to what you need as possible.

In theory, this strategy will help you choose a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will perform well in all situations. The real issues can begin when you actually go to your local store to try and buy the right device for you.

The Part About Responsibility

This all sounds pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs using OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t kidding when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

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

  • Testing: When you get a fitting for a hearing aid, we will also verify it’s functionality. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant 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 instance, we can create settings for loud locations such as restaurants and settings for quiet places. This kind of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Advice: Hearing aids can be complicated to program even though they’re tiny. How to take care of 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.
  • A good fit: We help you select a style and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. Occasionally, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure 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 effected by fit. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your specific hearing needs.

These are just a few of the benefits you get when you come in for assistance.

It’s worth pointing out that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that you should 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 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.