Imagine walking into a large discount superstore and picking out your eyeglasses with no prescription or professional to guide you. From a sea of different prescriptions for far-sightedness and near-sightedness, you figure out what prescription fits your eyesight best, and you leave with what feels right as you continue to shop. You leave the store feeling great about all of the money that you saved, but you might question your decision a few days later. Blurry night vision, headaches while reading, and a blister on the bridge of your nose might have you hurrying to have your prescription glasses fitted by a professional, rather than sticking with the glasses you picked out on your own.
This is a silly example, but it serves as an important reminder. Certain services, like hearing loss diagnoses, are meant to be handled by a medical professional. Purchasing hearing aids over the counter or online is risky business. Much like eyeglasses and contacts, hearing aids should be fitted and checked by an expert for several reasons.
Hearing loss happens for many reasons. People often assume that hearing loss is an inevitable part of growing older, but this is not always true. Often, hearing loss is a sign of an underlying illness or condition. Benign tumors or infections can cause hearing loss. Hereditary diseases, such as otosclerosis, can cause hearing loss. Meniere’s Disease and several other autoimmune disorders are often responsible for hearing loss and tinnitus. Certain drugs, including chemotherapy regimens and antibiotics, are also known to cause hearing loss.
Purchasing hearing aids, or “sound amplifiers” online or over-the-counter, means that you receive no medical advice. Attempting to treat your hearing loss without a medical professional means that you will not know if any underlying cause is creating your hearing loss. This could potentially put you at risk of further issues with any underlying medical challenge, while also failing to properly address the intricacies of your hearing loss.
Levels of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss isn’t fixed by making things louder. If it were that easy, televisions and phones would just come with an “extra-loud” option. An audiologist can help determine several important factors about your hearing loss. They can figure out what degree of hearing loss you have, from normal hearing to profound hearing loss. Hearing specialists perform several tests to determine the details of your hearing loss. A medical professional can help determine if you have a high-frequency hearing loss, meaning that you are unable to hear high pitches, or a low-frequency hearing loss. They can also assess whether you have equal hearing loss in both ears, or if there are varying degrees of loss in each ear.
The internet marketplace is overflowing with sound amplifiers, which have only recently been allowed by the FDA. These devices look similar to hearing aids, and have an appealing price tag. The hazard with these amplifiers is that they simply amplify sound. Much like the hearing aids used decades ago, they simply make sounds louder. At best, this approach usually fails to correct your hearing, as it does not account for your unique hearing loss needs. At its worst, a sound amplifier can actually damage your hearing, as it is pumping louder noises directly into your inner ear canal.
When you seek medical care for your hearing loss from a hearing specialist in a reputable practice, your hearing loss becomes their priority. Diagnosing your degree of hearing loss and its cause will help your audiologist appropriately treat it. After a medical evaluation and extensive testing, the staff can help you pick out the best hearing aid for your lifestyle and needs. They will continue to be available to you, as you might need an occasional repair or adjustment to your settings over time.
Purchasing sound amplifiers online might be less expensive, but that savings can come at a high price. Your hearing won’t be evaluated and treated by a professional, and the chances of your hearing being correctly treated are slim.
Treating your hearing loss can be life-changing, giving you the chance to experience sounds and moments that you might have thought were out of reach. Trust a professional with your hearing, and remember that you wouldn’t treat any other medical condition with an online marketplace. You deserve the best hearing possible, so seek out the best professionals possible to help you attain it. If you are just starting out on the path to correcting your hearing loss, check out our buyer’s guide for important basics, and please contact us to start your journey to better hearing!