When a person finally accepts that their hearing loss is affecting their everyday life including their work environment, personal relationships, and self esteem, it is crucial that they choose the right kind. The difference between buying a hearing aid from an audiologist vs. drug store can leave someone unsure. Let us help you sift through all the information.
Choose What’s Right For You
Just like you won’t find a pair of glasses at your neighborhood drug store for your astigmatism, you can’t expect a drug store to have the perfect hearing device for your individual hearing loss.
Consider three important questions:
- What is the severity of your hearing loss?
- What are your listening needs?
- What is your lifestyle?
Starting there will set you in the right direction.
Hearing Aids vs. Amplifiers
Your hearing loss is like your fingerprint, unique and only yours. Depending on whether you have mild, moderate, or severe/ profound hearing loss determines what type of device you need: a personal sound amplifying product (PSAP) or a hearing aid.
PROS of Hearing Amplifiers
- You don’t need a hearing test or a prescription
- Cheaper than hearing aids
- Makes hearing faraway sounds easier
- They make all sounds louder
CONS of Hearing Amplifiers
- Not really intended to correct hearing loss, just make all sounds louder not clearer
- Not regulated by the FDA
- Doesn’t differentiate nearby sounds, pitch, or frequencies
- Can make hearing loss worse in some cases
PROS of Hearing Aids
- Class 1 medical device regulated by the FDA
- Personalized hearing correction based on a prescription
- For those with mild to severe hearing loss
- Work with a specialist, audiologist
- Settings for various hearing environments like on a windy golf course or a restaurant
- Can be adjusted
- Can connect to smart devices to stream music, listen to audiobooks, etc.
- Can alleviate tinnitus
CONS of Hearing Aids
- More expensive
- Rarely covered by insurance
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that amplifiers are best for people with little to no hearing loss as it helps them in certain situations like bird watching or hunting. However, an audiologist can program the hearing aids to suit a person’s specific hearing needs making them louder and clearer.
New Kid On The Block
As of October 2022, the FDA has introduced a new category – over-the-counter hearing aids. It provides an alternative to prescription hearing aids. It includes those sold online and in stores. These OTC aids are for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss and are now regulated by the FDA. You may already have seen television and online ads.
What Do You Need?
The best way to answer this question is to schedule a hearing test by a licensed audiologist like Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat in Savannah and Pooler. GA.