As doctors of audiology, we spend a great deal of our time educating patients on the benefits of hearing aids and the various models available.

While most people’s number one choice of device is a hearing aid, there’s always the risk of other alternatives taking precedence. In this case, it’s over-the-counter hearing aids.

But what are they exactly?

Convenience at the Forefront

Well, over-the-counter hearing aids are exactly as they sound – they are hearing aids which you can buy over the counter.

While this cuts out the need to visit an audiologist and the paperwork attached, it presents a real danger to those with a hearing loss.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are just an amplifier, so they cannot directly treat hearing loss. This means it’s very easy for OTC devices to be used as a band-aid to camouflage hearing loss instead of directly treating it.

This could result in a lot of unhappy customers, which causes a negative effect on hearing aid clinics and providers.

This is because if the OTC device doesn’t help the individual, then they may start to think that a hearing aid will provide no benefit to them.

Take a Look at Your Goals

Throughout my many years of practicing, I have dealt with all kinds of hearing aids and hearing loss concerns.

From shy customers to those who are reluctant to change, I have seen all the different pathways people go down when it comes to choosing the right hearing aid.

Out of my 20 years of practicing, the best advice I can give to others is to prioritize what your goals are for managing your hearing.

It may seem simple at the forefront, but it is a huge factor to consider.

Whether it’s certain situations that you want to hear better in or having the ability to hear your friends at the dinner table, there’s a lot of things that play a part.

Then, we can take a step back and analyze what hearing aid device we think can coordinate with your lifestyle and goals.

From my experience, rarely is price a number one influencer. If it is, you must consider that you’re going to give up on quality, service, warranties, and all of the other benefits.

Most patients are aiming for longevity, consistency, and a long-term relationship with their provider, so they feel that they are going with someone who they trust.

Usually, I will say, “If price isn’t your number one thing, then OTC cannot be your number one choice.”

Do They Have Potential?

While we wouldn’t recommend OTC devices to everyone, there are certain circumstances where they may be beneficial.

For example, for those who are not in the right financial position to purchase hearing aids, they can be used as a product during the transitionary period in between accessing correct hearing aid technology.

It can be used as a tool to help you get to where you want to be hearing-wise, and then we can get you in touch with a provider, get your hearing directly diagnosed, and then managed appropriately.

House of Hearing Can Help You Achieve Better Hearing

Deciding which hearing aid technology is right for you can be overwhelming.

The good news is that we’re here to help you make the transition. Our hearing specialists and doctors have helped over 30,000 happy patients to get back to living their lives with improved hearing.

If you have any concerns, big or small, or maybe you just want to know more about the different options available, then please call your local office today and chat to one of our experts.

 

 

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Liz Hankins, Au.D., CCC-A

Liz Hankins, Au.D., CCC-A

Liz Hankins attended Utah State University where her undergraduate studies focused on communicative disorders and deaf education and where she received her doctorate of audiology in 2012. Dr. Hankins has a broad scope of experience including diagnostic testing for pediatric and adult populations, vestibular assessments, auditory verbal therapy, and cochlear implants, but her passion is hearing devices. Dr. Hankins is passionate about providing superior hearing health care and does it with a warm smile. She is extremely knowledgeable in the newest technology which allows her to make proper recommendations and provide stellar follow-up care. She has been actively involved with many international non-profit organizations, traveling to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Vietnam to provide audiology services, training, and hearing devices to children and adults in need. Dr. Hankins also works as an assistant professor at Utah State University and manages our clinical training program for audiology doctoral students from around the country. Dr. Hankins has a love for her family – she has 3 young daughters who keep her busy and laughing. She and her husband, Josh, enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, and mountain biking. She recently started a new hobby of cookie decorating and you can find some of her yummy creations at @drcookiecutter on Instagram.