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We’re seeing more instances, on TV and online, of over-the-counter hearing aids. These instruments are meant to make it easier to get assistance with hearing loss. They also might make this type of device more affordable. But medical professionals and even government officials have some serious concerns about some of the consequences of using over-the-counter hearing aids. Some states are even releasing warnings because of the number of complaints they’re getting from patients. Some of these concerns are outlined below.

Don’t Skip a Hearing Examination

The concept that you can just go get a hearing aid at the store or online without dealing with important steps like a hearing test is a serious concern. Without these steps, you can’t really know which solution is correct for you. You might also fail to recognize signs that your hearing loss is linked to other health concerns. Hearing tests also let you know how to program the device for best results.

There Are Different Levels And Types of Hearing Loss

Many people think that hearing loss is just a reduction of the volume of sounds you hear. When you do that on your stereo (or your phone, as the kids do), the result is instantaneous: everything goes quiet.

But adjusting the eq levels on a high end stereo is more like actual hearing loss. This happens because different wavelengths and frequencies are effected with hearing loss. So you may actually be doing further damage to your hearing if your hearing aid is not precisely calibrated.

The most advanced OTC hearing aids do a pretty good job of indicating on their packaging which frequencies they are amplifying. If you’ve had a recent audiogram you can try to do it by yourself. 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.

How to be Smart With Your Hearing Aid Choices

Consumers have more options in terms of devices to help with hearing than they ever did before. But because there are so many choices, it also makes deciding on the right one that much harder. This is known as analysis paralysis, you probably experience it most intensely when you’re attempting to find something to watch on Netflix.

You can make some smart choices with your hearing aids by doing the following:

Some amplification devices are marketed to resemble hearing aids so be cautious of this. It can often be hard to tell the difference. A hearing amplifier will turn up the volume on all wavelengths of sound, not just distinct frequencies like a hearing aid can. And that can be harmful for your ears in the long run. After all, you probably don’t need all frequencies to be boosted, only the ones that you can’t hear currently. Making sounds universally loud will weaken the sounds you’re already capable of hearing.

Talk to us. Whether you choose to go OTC or not, it’s very important 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 fit. You will be in a more informed position to choose which option fits your needs when you have an audiogram.

The best solution is usually not going to be OTC hearing aids. But with a little professional help and knowledge, most of these challenges can be conquered. Hearing is critical to your overall health. It’s worth taking the additional step and get evaluated first.

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