Hearing loss affects millions of people around the world. While most hearing aids are prescribed by audiologists, the introduction of over-the-counter or OTC hearing aids has provided an affordable, accessible alternative. Before investing in OTC hearing aids, consider the following factors to determine if they’re right for you.
Learning About Hearing Loss
Understanding hearing loss is the first step in determining whether OTC hearing aids are appropriate. Every person is different, and the severity and causes of hearing loss may vary. Over-the-counter hearing aids are best for mild and moderate hearing loss, but traditional devices and professional guidance may be needed in severe cases. By scheduling a hearing clinic evaluation with an audiologist who will identify your degree and type of hearing loss, you’ll gain a better understanding of the condition.
Setting a Budget
Over-the-counter hearing aids are more affordable than their prescription counterparts, which makes them a great alternative for those on tight budgets. It’s important to remember, however, that OTC devices may not offer the features or customizability found in prescribed hearing aids. Before purchasing hearing devices, evaluate your finances and consider whether the savings are worth the loss of features and performance.
Looking for Self-Adjustability
Self-adjustability is a key feature of OTC hearing aids. These devices are designed for users to adjust them without professional guidance. If you’re tech-savvy and know your hearing requirements, over-the-counter devices may be a good fit. However, if you find manual adjustments difficult and struggle with technology, the do-it-yourself approach may not be appropriate.
Considering Your Lifestyle
When buying OTC hearing aids, consider your communication needs and lifestyle. Over-the-counter devices work well for those with simple needs, such as engaging in conversation or watching TV. Seniors with more active lifestyles, such as those who go to concerts and attend group discussions, may benefit from the features, speech recognition, noise reduction, and versatility of prescribed hearing aids.
Looking for Smartphone Compatibility
Modern hearing aids often include smartphone apps and Bluetooth connectivity for increased customization and control. If you’re already a smartphone user and want the convenience of adjusting settings via an app, OTC hearing aids may be a good choice. If you’re less tech-inclined and don’t have a smartphone, prescribed hearing devices may be more suitable.
Asking About Trial Periods and Return Policies
In the age of Amazon, consumers want easy refunds and returns. Many hearing aid sellers offer generous trial periods and return policies, allowing users to test devices and return them if they don’t meet expectations. Before buying OTC hearing aids, learn about each brand’s policies for extra peace of mind.
Choosing Long-Term Service and Support Options
As you’re evaluating prescription and OTC hearing aid options, consider the availability of maintenance and support. While over-the-counter devices are accessible, it’s crucial to have reliable customer support. Prescribed hearing devices usually come with comprehensive maintenance and support services, and users should examine each brand’s support provisions.
Over-the-Counter or Prescribed Hearing Aids: The Choice is Yours
OTC hearing aids are a viable option for seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss, a low budget, and the desire for DIY adjustment. Before deciding whether to buy over-the-counter or prescribed hearing aids, assess your needs, budget, and technological aptitude. An audiologist can offer guidance, advice, and suggestions, but the decision is yours.