Over-the-counter hearing aids are more frequently appearing in stores both offline and online. These instruments are supposed to make getting help for hearing loss much easier and practical. They can also help make hearing help inexpensive without a compromise on the quality. Using over-the-counter hearing aids, however, has raised a lot of concern from both the government as well as medical professionals. Some states are even going as far as issuing warnings because of the considerable number of complaints they receive from patients. Some of these concerns are listed below.
Don’t Skip a Hearing Exam
One main issue with over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids is that patients often neglect essential steps in the process, like having a doctor’s consultation and hearing exam. It is quite difficult to know what the right plan for the type of hearing loss is without these steps. Hearing loss can be caused by several other health problems, some of which are neurological or even psychological, in which case hearing aids do not work. Hearing tests can also help to know how to set up a device for the best of results.
There Are Different Types And Levels of Hearing Loss
Quite many people think that hearing loss is just a lowering of the volume of sounds that the ear can hear. When this is done on a stereo or a phone, the effect is immediate, and the volume rapidly decreases. Actually, adjusting the eq levels on a stereo is more or less like actual hearing loss. This happens because different frequencies and wavelengths are impacted by hearing loss. The patient might actually be doing additional harm to their hearing if the hearing aid is not perfectly calibrated. More advanced OTC hearing aids actually do an outstanding job of displaying on their packaging which wavelengths they are boosting. If you are going to try and do it independently, the patient will have to start with a recent audiogram. When the hearing loss is complex, OTC hearing aids may not provide the kind of personalization the patient requires.
How to be Smart With Hearing Aid Choices
People have a more extensive array of choices in terms of devices that can help with their hearing than they have ever done before. However, it is also harder to make some decisions because of this very reason. This is known as analysis paralysis, which most people have probably experienced most acutely when trying to find something to watch something on the TV. Some amplification devices are often marketed to look like hearing aids. People need to be extra cautious here because there can hardly be any difference between the two visually. A hearing amplifier turns up the volume on all the wavelengths of sound, not just on specific frequencies like hearing aids which can be harmful to the ears in the long run. Obviously, the frequencies that the patient has trouble hearing, but making every sound louder will dull the sounds that they are already capable of hearing.
The best option is not to get OTC hearing aids at all. Still, it is essential to remember that most of these issues can be easily fixed out with some personal education and a professional evaluation.