What Is an OTC Device?

What Is an OTC Device?

by | May 26, 2021 | Hearing Aids, Industry News, Patient Resources

With May being Better Hearing Month, we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness throughout Michigan and Ohio to address a very common topic.

Over-the-counter devices are gaining popularity recently, as we have had many patients come to us with their questions and concerns.

Due to how easy it is to get one of these, we can see why patients would be drawn to them.

When you’re browsing the internet and see ads for these products, it’s not a coincidence.

Big corporations spend lots of money to ensure that their products are being seen by the people who are struggling with a hearing loss.

Being able to walk into any big box pharmacy and grab one off the shelf makes this product even more appealing.

Especially if you are still a little embarrassed by your problem.

Let’s examine the facts.

OTC Facts

  • OTCs are a very simple piece of technology. They are designed to do one thing and that is to amplify sound. They are very limited in their customization options.
  • They are one-size-fits-all, which in most cases is not true. Everyone has a different ear shape, ear canal, eardrum, etc. For something as serious as a medical condition, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.
  • Calibration and fitting are left up to you. When purchased, you must read the instructions and fit it comfortably in your own ear. This can present a challenge for most due to a lack of experience. Getting all the settings correctly adjusted can also be labor-intensive if you are not very tech savvy.
  • While it is true that OTC devices are usually more inexpensive, that should be an indicator of how much research and development went into this small piece of machinery that will be inside your ear.
  • If you have purchased an OTC from a third party, then your support system may be non-existent. In most cases, a manufacturer will not assist you if problems arise. This can lead people to think that all hearing aids are not for them. This could cause further damage to their hearing if left untreated.

Hearing Aid Facts

  • By getting a prescribed hearing aid from a hearing care professional, the first thing we do is conduct a comprehensive hearing assessment. This is not only a physical examination of your ears but also an informative session to learn more about your hearing habits.
  • Do you work in a library or a steel mill? Do you live alone or with young kids? All of these things can contribute to your hearing problem, and we want to have all the information.
  • The number one factor that separates a hearing aid from an OTC device is customization. No two hearing problems are alike and as such, cannot be treated by casting a wide net. Your hearing aid will be set to specifically address your problems and your surrounding environment.
  • The technology in a hearing aid is so much more advanced than in years past. This allows us to do some amazing things. We can set it to reduce background noise, or we can set it to emit a small tone to offset tinnitus. Whatever you’re dealing with, we can optimize your hearing aid to assist.
  • With professional follow-up and support, we can ensure your hearing is on the mend. The aging process can change your hearing over time and with it, new problems may arise. Simply bring your hearing aid and your questions to our office to get it adjusted or updated to accommodate your changing lifestyle.

Your Next Steps

If you, a loved one, or a friend needs some clarification in deciding the best option for yourself – we are here to help.

Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation or click here to book a free hearing screening.

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