Should You Choose OTC or Traditional Hearing Aids?

06/09/2021 | Hearing Aids, Patient Resources, Technology | 0 comments

If you’re someone who struggles with a hearing loss, you’ve likely been marketed various types of devices online.

Perhaps you struggle to hear in busy restaurants or cafes, or maybe you just want to hear better in work meetings.

Whatever it is that you struggle with, you’ll want to find a solution that helps you to hear in all environments, allowing you to be your most authentic self without having to constantly say “What?”

When the time comes to make your decision, there are two pathways you can go down:

  • Traditional route, which requires the medical intervention from an audiologist and ongoing care
  • Purchasing through a hearing aid dispenser or an over-the-counter hearing aid

While there is no correct option, as it completely depends on your listening preferences, lifestyle, and family history, there are a few things you should bear in mind before you pull out your wallet.

Let's chat about your options...

OTCs Don’t Include a Hearing Evaluation

When you visit the Hearing Center MCC, the first thing we do is conduct a comprehensive hearing assessment, which expertly examines the degree of your hearing loss.

It allows us to look into all aspects of your hearing by using a range of methodological tests, ensuring we can establish a treatment plan.

Most often than not, OTCs don’t require a hearing test prior to purchase. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but it also increases the chances of you being unsatisfied with the result.

Sometimes, it’s just a case of wax buildup in the eardrum, which can be easily removed by one of our experts.

Simply having a hearing test performed by a medical provider will help us better understand what your abilities are and which hearing technology is going to be most appropriate.

They Don’t Treat Hearing Loss Like Hearing Aids Do

Over-the-counter hearing aids are purely amplifiers, so they only work to “boost” your hearing in certain environments. This works great for someone who has a mild to moderate hearing loss and needs that extra bit of volume from time to time.

For example, if someone goes to work meetings occasionally and struggles to hear everyone talking, an OTC might be an appropriate option.

However, if someone has a serious hearing loss, which hasn’t been looked at by a medical professional, OTCs are not the answer. In fact, it could actually make your issues worse.

As OTCs work to increase volume, it doesn’t necessarily make speech clearer or easier to understand. In most cases, those with a hearing loss don’t suffer with an inability to hear – it’s the clarity that they are missing.

Hearing aids, on the other hand, are more advanced than ever before. With background filtering, Bluetooth connectivity, and high-end sound quality, they work to medically treat your hearing loss and aid you in all situations.

This helps you to understand speech and translate the information that is being said to you better, instead of simply increasing the volume like OTCs.

With regular check-ups in our office, our specialists can fine-tune your hearing aid and check for important updates, ensuring you are achieving the best possible performance from your device.

OTCs are Cheaper

The cost of OTCs varies, especially in our state of Florida. It can range anywhere between a few hundred to several thousands of dollars, depending on the sophistication of the device, the brand, and its features.

So, it can be a great entry-level and affordable option, but we do have to consider other factors which may make it more expensive in the long run.

If you’re considering investing in an over-the-counter device, based on your own perceptions of hearing loss, then you should consider using that investment toward something that’s more medical grade.

Entry-level medical-grade hearing aids do cost a bit more, but their performance and outcomes are far more superior to OTCs.

Nothing Compares to an Audiologist

Having cared for the people of Pensacola for over 45 years, there is no one else more trained than our specialists to take a look into your hearing.

The level of expertise and knowledge you get from an audiologist doesn’t compare, and the results show from the patients that keep walking through our door.  If you have any worries or concerns, our specialists are here 5 days a week and are always available to answer any of your questions.

When you purchase OTCs, you are giving up on that extra support, leaving yourself completely in the dark.

It’s Your Decision  

Whether you choose OTCs or hearing aids, it’s completely your decision, and only you can know what is best for yourself.

As Pensacola’s hearing healthcare specialists, we have seen many people go through the motions of hearing aid technology and we want others to be more aware of the different factors to consider.

If you or a loved one is experiencing discomfort or trouble with their hearing, just know that we are more than happy to help. Just get in touch at 850.969.2327.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Margaret Richards Au.D., CCC-A

Originally from Mobile, AL, Dr. Margaret Richards graduated with a bachelor’s of science in communication disorders from Auburn University in 2010 and obtained her doctorate of audiology from the University of South Alabama in 2014; in addition, she holds a certificate of clinical competence in audiology.
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