You may have heard of OTCs, also known as over-the-counter hearing aids, which are becoming increasingly more popular in the industry.

Designed to treat those with mild to moderate hearing loss, they aim to amplify sounds in certain environments and mimic the hearing of someone with a normal range.

With convenience at the forefront, you can buy them in your local store without having to see a licensed professional or visit a clinic. They are seen as the more convenient option of hearing aids.

But, what’s the catch?

They Don’t Treat Hearing Loss

While they are great for someone who needs that extra “boost” when it comes to their hearing, they pose a real danger for those who have underlying hearing conditions.

As audiologists in the hearing healthcare industry, we spend a great deal of our time supporting patients and getting to the direct root cause of their hearing concerns.

We see our patients as lifelong partners, and we look forward to watching your progress over the months and seeing you shine as a result of our efforts.

Over-the-counter hearing aids cut out the middleman and supply a one-size-fits-all hearing aid without a proper examination or diagnosis.

The key difference is that OTCs lack fundamental structure and support to your hearing journey, disregarding annual check-ups and hearing aid repairs and maintenance, as well as many other basic touchpoints, which are key to the success of your hearing.

Reduction on Sound Quality

When you visit PHC, we perform a test called Real Ear Verification, which allows us to estimate the acoustics of your ear canal and examine how well your device is working through microphone measurements.

We’re measuring soft, medium, and loud speech during this test and making sure that all the speech frequencies are amplified to the amount that they need to be. It is a highly-skilled test and is one thing that you will never be able to receive over the counter.

If you’re choosing something that you want as a basic tool to assist you in specific environments, such as bird watching, then you may benefit from an over-the-counter hearing aid.

But if you’re looking for something which significantly makes a difference to your life and improves your overall hearing quality, then OTCs are not the answer.

Real-Life Support

So, why should someone work with PHC instead of opting for an OTC?

Well, there are a few reasons. Although OTCs offer an easy way of accessing amplification devices and improved sound, they don’t compare to the annual check-ups, maintenance, and award-winning support you will receive over the course of your hearing healthcare journey.

In the event anything goes wrong with your device, we’re here five days a week.

One thing that separates audiologists from OTCs is that even though hearing aids are a big part of what we do, we’re also about treating the whole person and treating every aspect of their hearing health care.

It’s not just about fitting a hearing aid; we want to make sure that they’re on the right path to better hearing. Whether that’s hearing aids or a cochlear implant, we’re looking at all those aspects together.

Making the Right Decision for You

At the end of the day, hearing loss is a personal journey, and everyone follows a different path.

When it comes to treating hearing loss, the most important thing is to do your research and look into all available options. That way, you have the best chance of improving your hearing.

If you would like to know more about OTCs and hearing aids or simply want advice on the next steps to take, then you can get in touch with a member of our team here.

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Andrea Plotkowski, Au.D.

Andrea Plotkowski, Au.D.

Our highly driven, highly qualified Audiologist Andrea attended Grand Valley University for her Bachelor’s degree before pursuing her Doctorate at Purdue University. In her short career of 3 years so far, we’re delighted she’s spent two of them here at PHC in our Parkwest practice. With a real desire to help people live more fulfilling lives with better hearing health, Andrea knew audiology was for her. Coming from a tiny town of just 10,000 people, Andrea is certainly a big fish in our pond!