Should I just buy over the counter hearing aids?
There’s been a lot of information about over the counter hearing aids becoming available over the counter. Meaning going alone to pickup without any prior professional feedback. Not to mention these are also available online. It seems like a much simpler process than actually going to an audiologist, getting a hearing evaluation, and discussing options with them. Sounds like a good idea, right?
Why over the counter hearing aids isn’t the best option
First of all, over the counter hearing aids are not one size fits all. There are many variables in play when it comes to treat hearing loss and no two losses are the same. Hearing aids fit by a professional are fine-tuned specifically for the individual’s loss. Hearing aids help in amplifying the frequencies that the patient is missing according to their hearing evaluation. This allows for a clear and effective delivery of sounds, making easer communication possible.
Second, an experienced hearing professional will ask questions about the patient’s needs and lifestyle. Someone who is active, social, and in the workforce may need a specific setting to help in meetings or to filter out background noise. Conversely, someone who is simply trying to hear the television better at home may need an external device that streams the tv programming directly to their hearing aids. When bypassing the professional and purchasing over the counter hearing aids, these important features are not available. In turn it makes the listening experience less beneficial and less effective for the patient.
Third, and most importantly, a patient needs a full hearing evaluation to ensure that hearing aids are their best option. When hearing aids are just picked up off the shelf, this critical step is skipped. Many other things could be at play when someone is having difficulty hearing. True, it could be that they simply need amplification to hear better; they could also be suffering from a variety of other medical issues that require medication or surgery, not hearing aids. The issue could be simply built up wax preventing some from reaching the eardrum, impairing the person’s ability to hear well.
It can be tempting to go the easy and initially less expensive route when treating hearing loss. However, the easy route may also cause additional frustrations, costs, and health concerns. That’s just not worth it. We have a saying here at Hearing HealthCare Centers: “Do what is right, not what is easy”. This is how we operate daily with every single one of our patients. But this is also good advice for you too!