Online shopping is more popular than ever. When it comes to your hearing health, this is a bad idea: attempting to find a solution for your hearing loss without consulting a trained hearing professional is risky to your health, according to the FDA. You may save a few dollars up front, but keep in mind there are many different factors that contribute to hearing loss. Unless you know what is causing yours, you could be ignoring a serious medical issue. In addition, over-the-counter generic hearing devices and those purchased on the Internet often provide little improvement in hearing, meaning you’ll be spending money without receiving any real benefit.
Your hearing loss might be the result of something fairly innocuous, such as impacted earwax. “At the other end of the spectrum,” explains Dr. Eric Mann, Clinical Deputy Director of the FDA’s division of ophthalmic and ENT devices, “it could be something as serious as a tumor pressing on the hearing nerve.” Admittedly this is a worst-case scenario, but even if your hearing loss is the cause of natural aging or noise exposure and can be improved by wearing hearing aids, it’s important to have a hearing care professional with experience in fitting and programming hearing aids examine you initially.
“Today’s state-of-the-art hearing devices should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,” says Sergei Kochkin, Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute. “The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth.”
Many people would balk over the idea of buying a pair of shoes online without trying them on first. It makes little sense to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on hearing aids that might not even work as advertised.
Think twice before purchasing hearing aids online. An audiologist will diagnose the cause of your hearing loss and has the skills and experience needed to ensure you end up with hearing aids that are right for you.