If you’re experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss, then managing it with a hearing aid is one of the most reliable and commonly used treatments around. If you’re looking at hearing aids, you want to know the different types available, as well. One of the types that has been discussed lately is over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Here, we’re going to look at what they are, what sets them apart from other hearing aids and what you might want to know about them.

What are OTC Hearing Aids?

OTC devices are made for adults who are experiencing the symptoms of self-perceived, mild-to-moderate hearing loss and wish to treat it without having it prescribed by an audiologist. OTC hearing aids are for people who typically might not need to use them in every listening situation. They can be helpful for improving the user’s ability to hear and understand speech to improve communication, but might not need to be worn all the time.

The biggest difference with OTC hearing aids compared to others, now typically referred to as prescription hearing aids, is that you don’t need to visit the audiologist to have them prescribed to you. This can make hearing improvement aids a lot more accessible to some people. However, trying to treat your hearing health without the expertise of an audiologist can have significant drawbacks.

OTC hearing aids, which do not require a prescription, have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, they may not offer the same level of amplification or advanced features as prescription hearing aids. Even with mild hearing loss, you won’t get the same kind of listening experience from an OTC device as you would a custom-fit prescription hearing aid.

Can You Get OTC Hearing Aids for Children?

It’s important to keep in mind that OTC hearing aids are made specifically for adults that are over 18 years old. The main difference between an adult’s ears and a child’s ears is that the latter are still growing and developing. Children have their own hearing health needs that OTC hearing aids tend to be too general to be able to cover. Particularly young children, such as infants, may need to be prescribed new hearing aids on a routine basis since the shape of their ear is literally changing from year to year.

Additionally, children who are experiencing hearing loss should make sure that they have an audiologist available to help them. After all, you want to get the most accurate picture of hearing health as you can and to keep up with their changing needs as best as possible. This can include the routine follow-ups that audiologists provide to help children meet their key speech and language milestones.

Picking the Right Hearing Aid for You

When it comes to selecting a hearing aid, it’s crucial to get the opinion of an audiologist. Not only can they test your hearing and provide you with a clear picture of what you will require from a device. There are several styles to consider, with in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) and behind the ear (BTE) being the most popular.

There are several factors you should consider when you are choosing a device. This includes thinking about how durable it is, whether it’s easy to use and what additional benefits you could benefit from, like Bluetooth compatibility, noise reduction, directional microphones or tinnitus masking.

The audiologist will be your go-to person for all things hearing aid related, which allows you to absorb a wealth of information about your devices. This includes how to insert and remove them, how to maintain them and how to adjust them.

Can an Audiologist Help?

By definition, you don’t necessarily need a diagnostic test to wear OTC hearing aids, you only need to have self-perceived hearing loss. That said, many people have trouble finding out what kind of hearing loss they have alone, as it’s difficult to accurately test for without the help of an audiologist. Audiologists are licensed and certified to diagnose hearing loss and help you understand what level and kind of hearing loss you might have. If an OTC hearing aid would be enough to treat you, then your audiologist will let you know but if you would benefit better from another device, then they can make sure that you’re getting the right hearing aid to suit your needs.

You may not always need an audiologist if you’re looking to start using an OTC Hearing Aid, but we always recommend getting in touch if you have any issues or questions that are not being addressed, especially when it comes to hearing loss. You can always reach the team at Pacific Audiology Clinic by calling 503-719-4208.

Tags: hearing aid styles, over-the-counter hearing aids