It can sometimes feel like, despite the noise of our daily lives, that sounds are becoming harder to hear. For many people, their first thoughts turn to traditional prescription hearing aids as a way to combat hearing loss. This also allows them the ability to hear clearly, communicate well, and stay connected. Turning to prescription hearing aids as the first step is just one of the many myths surrounding hearing loss. Learning the truth about the available options can help individuals make informed decisions in the debate over a traditional prescription hearing aid vs an OTC hearing aid. This leads to an increased ability to restore hearing.
Myth: I need a hearing aid as soon as I begin to experience hearing loss.
Fact: Stop before you run to order a hearing aid. It’s important to make an appointment with an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) or audiologist. They can give you an evaluation and information about your specific hearing loss. You may not need a hearing aid. Some hearing losses can stem from a buildup of earwax, tumors, or other underlying causes.
Unfortunately, for many people, the funds to see an audiologist aren’t as readily available. Insurance carriers are tightening the reins on their coverage. Individuals are opting to go without insurance, and many people in the country living below the poverty level. An evaluation by an otolaryngologist or audiologist is not always an immediate option.
Many people who should be wearing a hearing assistance device are not, and they are finding difficulties each day due to difficulty hearing. Furthermore, an OTC hearing aid could improve their hearing. Individuals can purchase over the counter hearing aids and bypass the instant expense of an evaluation and pricey traditional prescription hearing aids. This gives people an opportunity to save money or seek insurance options.
Myth: My hearing will be restored to normal with a hearing aid.
Fact: While glasses can help bring vision back to 20/20, hearing aids cannot always do the same for hearing. They do not restore hearing to normal, nor do they cure hearing loss, but they can give users a better ability to hear and listen-which can help improve their communication and quality of life.
Mild Hearing Loss
Armed with that knowledge, individuals with mild hearing loss might be able to find a different solution. One study showed that patients using high-end OTC hearing aids were able to match, very closely, the prescribed targets and amplified sound to the point that environmental sounds and music were not discernibly different as compared to the traditional prescription behind-the-ear hearing aid
Myth: Hearing aids are my only option.
Fact: There are many different tools available to help improve the hearing reception for people experiencing hearing loss.
- Hearing assistive technology systems are an ideal option that can be used with or without hearing aids used to help individuals with hearing loss. There are several different transmission systems, including frequency modulation (FM), infrared systems, sound field systems, and induction loop systems, which can all help both children and adults.
- Hearing aids range from traditional behind-the-ear devices that look similar to Bluetooth pieces. Other options include completely- or all-in-the canal aids that are molded to fit completely or mostly in the ear canal, in-the-ear hearing aids, aids with receivers either in the canal or in the ear, and open fit hearing aids.
- OTC hearing aids are devices sold directly to consumers. They use a microphone to pick up and amplify the sounds the user is desiring to hear. Unlike the other options, over the counter hearing aids are available without a professional evaluation, making them more accessible to individuals of all income levels.
The Truth About Hearing Loss:
Here’s the truth about hearing loss. It’s always advisable to seek advice in-person from a medical professional and schedule a hearing test to determine the extent of your hearing loss. However, some high-end OTC hearing aids provide a level of care and performance that is comparable to some prescription hearing aids. Additionally, for people with a hearing loss not caused by an underlying issue, OTC hearing aids can be an affordable, easy-to-use supportive device option.
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