Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot of questions regarding OTC devices.

With a little research, you can find out a lot of information about these, but is it the right information for you?

Due to the pandemic, our habits and daily routines are increasingly reliant on the internet for entertainment and education.

You may have noticed a decline in your hearing over the past 12 months simply because you are more aware of your surroundings now as life has slowed down.

In some cases, this can be good. We can spend more time with family and do things that are important to us.

In other areas, such as our health, it may not be as good. Our bodies need stimulation and, of course, exercise. Our ears are no different.

May is Better Hearing Month, and we are happy to participate.

We will use this month to raise awareness all over Maryland and to promote healthy hearing as life starts to speed up again.

If you have ever wondered about OTC devices and if they can help you, then we have the answers here.

Want to discuss your hearing aid options?

OTCs

Over-the-counter devices are very simple hearing aids. They are designed with minimal technology so they can appeal to the masses as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Their only function is to amplify all sound that it receives. As audiologists, this is a step backward in our field, as there are many more complete solutions available to us.

Being so easy to acquire and usually sold at low costs, OTCs have gained some popularity. It’s only when someone starts using one do they see the pitfalls associated with it.

If you have a technical issue with the device, but it was bought through a third party, it’s common for the manufacturer to not offer any help since they did not receive any payment from you and cannot be liable for repairs.

This can be problematic for the wearer and usually results in the OTC being thrown into a drawer or brought to our offices.

We do the best we can to help, but unfortunately, they were not designed to be fixed.

Pros
  • Inexpensive (some of them)
Cons
  • Only amplifies sound
  • You must fit and calibrate it yourself
  • Very little initial consultation
  • Very little support after its purchase

Hearing Aids

With a prescribed hearing aid, we can adjust and fully customize it to suit your exact needs. Sometimes a hearing aid is not required, as there may be a physical blockage of earwax or a growth that is preventing proper hearing.

An OTC device would have no way of diagnosing this and so, as you increase the volume, you may be doing more damage than good.

A comprehensive hearing exam is just the beginning. We always try to start new hearing aid wearers on a slow schedule.

This is to give your brain a chance to relearn how to process sounds and background noise.

As your hearing progresses, we can adjust your hearing aid so that it can reduce background noise or reduce the effects of tinnitus.

Providing ongoing support is also something that is included in the cost when you purchase your hearing aids through a hearing care professional.

By specializing in some of the most advanced hearing aid technology, we can fine-tune your hearing aid to optimize its performance to make it more effective and more comfortable.

Pros
  • Uses advanced technology to bring out the best in your hearing
  • Custom-fit to your exact ear canal
  • In-depth instruction about usage, care, and maintenance
  • Comprehensive initial hearing assessment
  • Ongoing support and adjustments
  • Ability to reduce background noise and effects of tinnitus
Cons
  • Cost (In most cases, this cost can be taken care of by your insurance. This is also discussed with you and our insurance specialist to get the best care for you.)

When it comes to hearing loss, you don’t know what you don’t know.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about the options available to you, please don’t hesitate to call your local Maryland office below.

Bowie, MD 301-860-1124

Southern Maryland 410-535-0024

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Marcie Jacobs, M.A., F-AAA

Marcie Jacobs has extensive experience in the field of Audiology. She became an audiologist over 25 years ago and has practiced in Southern Maryland and Prince Georges County. Jacobs Audiology was founded in 2011 with the philosophy of providing superior hearing health care for their patients. Her unique combination of empathy and energy result in excellent patient care. Marcie Jacobs obtained her Master of Science degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland in 1991.