How do you know if you need a hearing aid if you haven’t had a diagnostic test?
You need to test your auditory system to determine:
a) Do you have a hearing loss or is it something else?
b) Whether the issue is medically treatable?
It could be that you will require a hearing aid. It also is possible your condition is treatable.
There are certain conditions in which the hearing loss can only be reversed if treated immediately, even a week later is too late
c) If you need a hearing aid, what features and prescription do you need?
A trust worthy ethical audiologist will encourage you to take advantage of an OTC hearing aid, when appropriate. Just like an ethical optometrist would encourage you to purchase $1.00 reading glasses at your local drug store, if their examination reveals that is all you need. However, self-diagnosing that all you need is OTC reading glasses or hearing aids, even if you feel you are getting benefit from them, could potentially be missing something important that is going on with your health. There is good reason these professions are doctoral level.
Next you want to choose a hearing device that meets your requirements based on the findings above.
Finally, you want to know:
Did the hearing aid you chose measure up?
The OTC hearing aid, like the reading glasses, is meant for a simple flat hearing loss. Such a hearing loss merely requires everything be equally a little louder. A real live person adjusting the various inner settings of the hearing aid is the only way you can get the customized fitting needed for anyone who has a hearing loss that is not flat. There are many other architectures to hearing loss (depending on the cause, the impact will be different). Yes, the more features you hearing aids have the more it will cost you. Here again is where the value of a trust worthy ethical professional, who is partnering with you to get you what you need, comes in.
Your audiologist will also test the hearing aid to ensure it meets manufacturer specifications and isn’t a lemon. Furthermore, your audiologist will test how you hear with the hearing aids programmed and on you, to ensure your chosen device is meeting its prescription targets when on you. This is important because little things, like the shape of your ear canal, can change the actual output from the one expected.
If your audiologist is not offering you this level of service, then you are right, you might as well order an OTC device. But to get the service you need and deserve, you’re better off finding an audiologist who will provide you with this level of service.
(For hearing aids that would not be Hearing Kids, and we take great pride in not offering hearing aids. For your other listening needs schedule an assessment here… )