December 19, 2022

Over the Counter Hearing Aids Give Rise to DIY Fixes and Troubleshooting

Historically, hearing aid purchase required seeing an audiologist for hearing testing, hearing aid selection, hearing aid programming, and hearing aid fitting. That's because hearing aids unfortunately are not a one-size-fits-all solution to correct hearing loss due to the complexities of restoring hearing from a wide range of hearing loss patterns to a huge variety of different ear canal shapes/sizes. Of course, when an over-the-counter hearing aid is purchased, the end-user is now responsible to figure all that out themselves.

Although technology has been developed to assist the end-user in terms of self-administered hearing testing and hearing aid programming, the fitting is still up to the end-user to figure out. Probably the most common complaints with hearing aids (assuming proper programming) whether over-the-counter or purchased through an audiologist are presence of feedback (warbling or whistling noises), occlusion effect (voice sounds boomy/hollow as well as hearing internal body noises),  and low-frequency sounds are absent or distorted. 

Obviously, if a hearing aid is purchased through an audiologist, the audiologist will help resolve any hearing aid audio complaints. If purchased over-the-counter, then it is up to the end-user to figure it out!

As such, our office has created a few DIY videos to help the individual fit the OTC hearing aid they purchased to work better with their ear and hearing loss pattern. AND, to trouble-shoot any sound issues that may be present. If sound issues persist, the user may have to contact the manufacturer for assistance. Or, you really do need a better medical grade hearing aid (because your hearing is too bad for an OTC model to handle).

Of course, our office still sells hearing aids for which we will professionally fit and address any sound complaints, but for those who are technically inclined with only a mild to moderate hearing loss, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a perfectly acceptable option to consider!

OTC hearing aids we recommend can be found here!

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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