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We all love convenience. So if you can go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to recognize how this would seem appealing. No fitting, no waiting, just instant gratification. But we might need to investigate this positive vision of the future a bit more.

A little care is required because over-the-counter hearing aids might start appearing in stores around you. And that puts lots of responsibility on consumers like you to understand all of the facts. 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.

What’s an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?

In some sense, an over-the-counter hearing aid has some similarities with other hearing aids. So that they can counteract the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. OTC hearing aids, in this way, have advanced to some extent.

But the process of choosing an OTC hearing aid is a little more complicated than buying a bottle of Tylenol. Here’s how it should work:

  • You should get a hearing screening and receive an audiogram.
  • Your audiogram would give you a readout of your general hearing health, such as what frequencies of sound you need help hearing.
  • Your distinct hearing loss parameters will determine what the appropriate solution should be. The fact is that some types of hearing loss can’t be adequately addressed with over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you want to make sure you get as close to what you need as you can.

This process should, at least in theory, permit you to select the correct device for your hearing loss situation. That doesn’t always mean your local store will have that device available, however, and close enough isn’t good enough with regards to your hearing.

The Responsibility Part

In theory, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will decrease the costs involved and let more people enjoy healthier hearing. But the amount of responsibility that is placed on the consumer is no joke.

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

  • Advice: Hearing aids can be difficult to program even though they are tiny. We can walk you through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adapt to your new level of hearing.
  • A good fit: You can get guidance with fit and style when you go through us. To ensure a custom fit and a maximum comfort a mold of your ear can sometimes be cast. Achieving a good fit will help make certain that you are comfortable enough to wear it every day. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. You’ll be more likely to have feedback if the device is loose in your ear.
  • Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is working the way that it should. You can be certain that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
  • Adjustments: We can make several kinds of adjustments that can help your hearing aid function better in a variety of common environments. As an example, we can program settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet places. This type of fine-tuning can be crucial to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the numerous types of hearing aids that we offer at various price points programmed to your particular hearing needs.

These are just a couple of the benefits you get when you come see us for advice.

It’s worth mentioning that over-the-counter hearing aids aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are selecting your device, you should use some caution, and in addition to getting the technology you want, including your hearing specialist will help you get the care you need.

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