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We all love convenience. So it’s easy to grasp the attraction of hearing aids that you can get at your local pharmacy or store. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this rosy vision of the future may require deeper investigation.

Over the counter hearing aids might start popping up in stores near you so a little caution is necessary. And that puts a lot of responsibility on consumers like you to understand what’s what. If you don’t get it right your hearing could suffer which makes the stakes for these decisions very high. But great responsibility comes with great convenience.

Over The Counter Hearing Aids – What Are They?

Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other types of hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this manner, OTC hearing aids are of a higher quality than they once were.

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

  • You should have a hearing screening and get an audiogram.
  • Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a tough time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • Your distinct hearing loss parameters will determine what the proper solution should be. In truth, over the counter hearing aids can’t effectively treat all types of hearing impairment. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.

Theoretically, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your amount of hearing loss and that will perform well in all conditions. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device in stock, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.

The Part About Responsibility

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

Consumers will lose 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 various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.
  • Testing: Fittings also guarantee that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. This includes testing it while you’re still in the office and making sure it works as intended for you.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be fine-tuned so it will operate efficiently in several everyday situations. For example, we can program settings for loud locations like restaurants and settings for quiet places. In order to get the most out of your hearing aids over time, this fine tuning is essential.
  • Advice: Tiny though they are, hearing devices can be complicated to program. How to take care of your hearing aid, how to use it efficiently, and how to adapt to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can take you step-by-step through.
  • A good fit: You can get assistance with style and fit when you go through us. Sometimes, a mold of your ear will be taken to assure a custom fit and maximum comfort. It’s important to wear your hearing aid daily so a good fit is essential. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.

These are just a couple of the advantages you get when you come see us for assistance.

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are bad. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and including your hearing specialist will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you require as well as the technology you want.

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Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC