Statistics show that wearing a hearing aid could be beneficial for as many as 28.8 million American citizens. Despite this, the number of hearing aids dispensed yearly is much less, and audiologists recorded just 3.65 million supplied in 2016. Even when people start to encounter hearing loss, they typically wait for years before finally purchasing their first hearing aid, with some not taking action for 15 years. 

But we need to consider why people take this approach to hearing loss. After all, they would not wait 15 years if they experienced a loss of sight. Even with the many benefits that can come from wearing a hearing aid, less than 16 percent will follow through and wear them. Perhaps this is related to speaking to an audiologist, arranging an appointment, and finding the time to get tested.  

Do you need to see a doctor to get a hearing aid? 

Previously, you could not obtain a hearing aid without first seeing an audiologist and getting a prescription outlining that you require a hearing aid to improve your hearing. This could be why many people avoided getting tested. The considered it inconvenient, and they perhaps did not want to face up to the reality that they required a hearing aid.

This process changed in August 2017; however, when the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act was signed, which made it possible for certain categorires of hearing aids to be purchased without a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was responsible for developing a hearing aid category that anybody could buy, even without the supervision of a trained audiologist. The act also specifies that individuals can get a hearing aid even without a recommendation, or require their audiologist to order one.

How to get a hearing aid

While this act made certain forms of hearing technology more accessible to everyone – it doesn’t cover the very fine-tuned and precise devices recommended by hearing care professionals. These over-the-counter options are very basic and mainly operate on the premise of simply amplifying sounds. Because they are not as customizable or adjustable as the sophisticated technology available from your audiologist, these devices typically do more harm than good. If the device can’t be fine-tuned to your specific hearing loss needs, it will amplify all sounds – even the pitches you may not struggle to hear, causing even more hearing difficulties now and down the road. 

For the most precise device, it’s crucial that you see an audiologist to have your hearing loss properly assessed and the right technology recommended. Your audiologist will take into account your hearing loss, budget and lifestyle needs to help you determine what style of device you would benefit from, including behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE) and in the canal (ITC). These should be carefully selected to ensure not only the best listening experience, but also the most comfortable physical fit.   

Things to remember

Your hearing aid will not be effective unless you find one suitable for your level of hearing loss and have it tailored to your specific needs. Speaking to an audiologist will give you a better idea of which type of hearing loss you are experiencing. Considering there are several different hearing loss classifications, ranging from mild to profound, you want to make sure you know precisely the type of hearing loss you have encountered to get the most from your hearing aids. 

An audiologist can also recommend the right hearing aid for you to use and provide crucial information regarding care, maintenance and how to use it. While you can get all of this information from the instruction manual, it is often easier to receive such detailed information from your audiologist, making them a useful means of making the most of your hearing aid. Daily maintenance is crucial to improving the longevity of your hearing aids and ensuring they don’t become damaged. 

While it is recommended to see an audiologist to get a hearing aid, recent rulings have made getting a form of amplification more accessible than ever. However, it’s important to note that while you may have the convenience of ordering an amplification device without waiting for an appointment, you will be missing out on the critical maintenance, usage and fine-tuning information and services that an audiologist provides. 

Get in touch today

If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Davis Audiology today by contacting us at 864-655-8300 to learn more about your options, get more information, or book an appointment for a hearing test.