Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Pharmacy aisle with over the counter hearing aids, but no one to help with selection or fitting.

Convenience is something we all love. So if you’re able to go to your local store and buy some hearing aids, it’s not hard to grasp how this would seem appealing. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this positive vision of the future could call for further investigation.

A little care is essential because over-the-counter hearing aids may start appearing in stores around you. And that puts a lot of burden 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 Is an Over-The-Counter Hearing Aid?

Over the counter hearing aids, to a certain extent, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. So that they can counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are manufactured to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they once were.

But it’s a bit more involved than buying, say, a bottle of aspirin. It should work like this:

  • You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing examination.
  • Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a hard time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • Your distinct hearing loss parameters will identify what the proper solution should be. The fact is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be sufficiently treated using over-the-counter devices. In situations where they can, you’ll need to make sure you get as close to what you need as possible.

This process should, at least theoretically, 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 enough with regards to your hearing.

The Responsibility Part

This all seems pretty great, in theory. Some people will be able to enjoy healthier hearing while cutting costs with OTC hearing aids. But we weren’t joking when we said it puts a large amount of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

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

  • Testing: Fittings also ensure that the hearing aid is functioning the way that it should. You can be sure that your hearing aid is functioning the way it was meant for you because we test it when you’re in the office.
  • 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 adjust to your new hearing level, are some of the things we can walk you through.
  • A better selection: We can fit you with one of the various types of hearing aids that we offer at a variety of price points programmed to your distinct hearing needs.
  • A good fit: We help you pick a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. 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. Your ability to hear is also affected by fit. If the device doesn’t fit tightly in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to get feedback.
  • Adjustments: We can make a few types of adjustments that can help your hearing aid work better in a number of common situations. For example, we can create settings for loud places like restaurants and settings for quiet spaces. In order to get the most from your hearing aids over the long run, this fine tuning is crucial.

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

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. But when you are making your selection, you should use some caution, and in addition to getting the technology you want, keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will help you receive the care you need.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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