What Is an OTC Device?

by | May 18, 2021 | Hearing Aids, News, Patient Resources, Technology

As the month of May quickly passes, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this month is officially Better Hearing Month. We love participating in this event to raise awareness throughout North Carolina about all things that have to do with healthy hearing practices.

Recently, some of our patients have been inquiring about a very hot topic these days. Over-the-counter hearing devices are gaining ground with their forthcoming marketing plans.

With the pandemic lingering and some of us still staying comfortable at home, we have been drawn to the internet now more than ever. These big corporations know that and are leveraging it to sell more OTCs.

Who Are They Meant For?

Touted as a one-size-fits-all solution, OTCs are said to be for anyone with a hearing loss. They are made to amplify sound to improve your hearing.

In reality, these devices are very simplistic, which is why they promote their help to anyone. Simply amplifying sound is not enough for most patients, as hearing problems are often more complex than that.

A person who is experiencing a very mild version of hearing loss may benefit from an OTC. Even if that occurs, the solution will not last forever.

Your hearing changes over time and as such requires updated equipment. An OTC cannot provide this.

Although the low cost seems like a good deal on the surface, over the long term, it may end up doing more harm than good and costing you more than you planned.

Where Can I Buy Them?

Access to OTCs has increased immensely. With the vast infrastructure that we are lucky to have here in the US, you can walk into almost any big box pharmacy and pick one right off the shelf.

Even ordering them online is now common practice and getting one has never been easier. Buying medical instruments has never been recommended by healthcare officials, as there is too much risk involved. Due to the simplicity of these products, however, they can conduct their sales in this manner.

Why Are Hearing Aids Better?

  • When getting a hearing aid from a professional audiologist, 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. We will ask questions about your day-to-day life as well as your surrounding environments. All these things can contribute to your hearing problem, and we want to have all the information.
  • The number one factor that makes a hearing aid more suited to you 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 that of an OTC. 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 taken care of. 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 and updated to accommodate your changing lifestyle.

If you or a loved one would like to find out more about the best options available to you, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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Dr. Shannon Frymark Au.D., CCC-A

Shannon Frymark, Au.D., CCC-A, audiologist, was raised in Greensboro, NC. Dr. Shannon’s passion for the field of audiology stems from personal experience. Born with a hearing loss in both ears, she has worn hearing aids since age 3. She is considered a technology expert because of her experience with so many different hearing aids and assistive listening devices throughout the years.She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and Master of Arts degree in Audiology from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She was awarded her doctorate in Audiology from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry: School of Audiology. While in undergraduate and graduate school, she worked at the Central School for the Deaf as a residential counselor. Dr. Frymark spent the first five years of her audiology career with Florida Hospital in central Florida.

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