McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

“Pharmacy

We all enjoy convenience. So it’s easy to comprehend the appeal of hearing aids that you can buy at your local store or pharmacy. Instant gratification with no waiting and no fitting. But this positive vision of the future may call for further investigation.

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

Over the counter hearing aids, in some ways, have similarities with other kinds of hearing aids. In order to counter the effects of hearing loss, these devices are made to amplify sound. In this way, OTC hearing aids are better than they used to be.

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

  • You need an audiogram which you will get when you have a hearing evaluating.
  • Your overall hearing health, particularly what frequency you’re having a difficult time hearing, will be in your audiogram.
  • Your distinct hearing loss criteria will identify what the appropriate solution should be. The reality is that some forms of hearing loss can’t be adequately 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.

Theoretically, this strategy will help you pick a hearing device that’s right for your level of hearing loss and that will perform well in all conditions. The real hassles can start when you actually visit your local store to try and find the best device for you.

The Part About Responsibility

Theoretically, this probably all sounds pretty good. For some, OTC hearing aids will reduce the costs involved and allow more people to enjoy healthier hearing. But we weren’t kidding when we said it puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of consumers.

When a consumer goes right from an audiogram to an OTC hearing aid, this is what they lose out on:

  • A good fit: We help you choose a model and fit of hearing aid that will feel comfortable in your ears. To ensure maximum comfort and a custom fit a mold of your ear can occasionally be made. It’s important to wear your hearing aid every day so a good fit is crucial. Fit also impacts your ability to hear. If the device is too loose in your ear canal, you’ll be more likely to have feedback.
  • Advice: Even though they are tiny, hearing devices can be challenging to program. We can take you step-by-step through how to use your hearing aid effectively, how to take care of them, and how to adjust to your new level of hearing.
  • A better selection: We offer all kinds of hearing aids, at different price points, that can be programmed to your hearing loss.
  • Adjustments: Your hearing aid can be adjusted so it will operate efficiently in a number of common situations. You can have presets that help you hear in quiet environments and other presets for noisier scenarios like crowded restaurants. This kind of fine-tuning can be essential to the long-term enjoyment of your hearing aids.
  • Testing: Fittings also ensure 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.

When you come in for some hearing advice, these are just some of the things we will help you with.

We aren’t saying that over-the-counter hearing aids are a bad thing. It’s just that you need to use a little bit of caution when making your selection, and keeping your hearing specialist in the loop will be a good way to make sure you’re getting the care you need in conjunction with the technology you want.

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