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Why You Should Choose a Licensed Hearing Specialist

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Hearing Centers of AZ -Why You Should Choose a Licensed Hearing SpecialistOver-the-counter hearing aids are coming to Arizona, and they can sound pretty appealing at first glance. The convenience of being able to select your own hearing instruments, without consulting with a hearing specialist, may sound enticing. Nevertheless, over-the-counter (“OTC”) hearing devices are controversial. First, it’s important to know what we mean by OTC hearing aids.

What are over-the-counter hearing devices, and how will they work in practice?

The idea behind OTC hearing instruments is that they will be available to purchase from a standard pharmacy, without a consultation with a hearing specialist. If passed, the federal Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 would enable those with mild to moderate hearing loss to pick up hearing aids in the same way people buy a pair of reading glasses.

Arizona’s most prominent hearing care advocacy group, The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has opposed the legislation. Michele Michaels, a specialist with the commission, told AZ Central, “Most of the stakeholders in this debate, our goals are the same: We want to increase access to hearing health care, and we want to increase the affordability of it. But this is not the way to go.”

Why all the controversy, you ask? Here are some of the reasons that opponents to OTC hearing devices are wary of the suggested legislation.

Self-diagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment

Hearing specialists are just that: they are specialists! Hearing devices can take a while to get used to sometimes, and can require adjustments. That’s why consulting a hearing instrument specialist is essential to ensuring the best hearing care.

Equally important is the potential for misdiagnosis. How many times have you discovered a strange bodily function or a new bump and convinced yourself you have some kind of debilitating, life-threatening disease — only to find out it’s something completely normal? The advent of websites such as WebMD, while very useful, often lead people to misdiagnosis. Hearing specialists are concerned that OTC hearing aids could have the same effect.

For instance, if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, but haven’t seen a hearing specialist, can you accurately identify in which ear (or ears) the hearing loss is taking place? Would you describe it as mild, moderate or severe? What’s the basis for that conclusion?

It can be very difficult for an untrained person to identify the degree of hearing loss, or even whether they are actually experiencing hearing loss at all. It could be that the ear has become impacted with hearing wax and simply needs a clean. Without professional hearing tests, there is a serious potential for misdiagnosis and, as a result, unnecessary or inappropriate use of hearing aids.

Consulting with a hearing specialist can help identify other issues

In addition to examining a candidate for hearing aids and possibly fitting or adjusting those hearing devices, a hearing specialist may also be able to identify broader issues during a consultation. Hearing specialists can identify infections, tumors or even nerve problems. Often, early detection of these issues can be vital to dealing with them swiftly.

Following on from misdiagnosis, hearing specialists are also concerned that if untrained consumers purchase OTC hearing devices and then incorrectly adjust or fit them, they may conclude that the hearing aids are ineffective and stop using them. This could mean that people who would benefit from treating hearing loss are discouraged. Considering it takes the average person seven years to seek treatment, there’s no telling how long it might take a person to give hearing aids another try.

Quality versus convenience

Hearing loss is something that can have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life. Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss can be linked with depression, social isolation and anxiety. Frustration in personal relationships when hearing loss goes untreated is a common complaint. In other words, it is worth treating hearing loss with a high-quality product, rather than casually picking something up out of convenience.

At The Hearing Centers of Arizona, we offer top-of-the-line products from a range of providers, and we can work with you, individually, to find hearing aids to meet your needs, lifestyle and budget. Locally owned and owner-operated, we take pride in our individual approach and in ensuring that you get the best quality care available. We provide free hearing consultations and are always on-hand to fit or adjust your hearing devices.

The Hearing Centers of Arizona

If you or a loved one feel you may have a hearing loss, we invite you to schedule a free hearing test at our practice. Testing is painless and will provide you the answers you need immediately.

Casa Grande

1201 N. Pinal Avenue

Suite A

Casa Grande, AZ 85122

Phone: 520-494-3881

Florence

475 S. Main Street

Florence, AZ 85132

Phone: 520-413-2265

Ahwatukee

4425 E Agave Rd

Suite 106

Phoenix, AZ 85044

Phone: 480-619-6112

San Manuel

23 S McNab Pkwy

San Manuel, AZ 85631

Phone: (520) 252-4707

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Casa Grande
1201 N. Pinal Avenue
Suite A
Casa Grande, AZ 85122
Phone: 520-494-3881

 

Florence
475 S. Main Street
Florence, AZ 85132
Phone: 520-413-2265
Maricopa
21300 N. John Wayne Parkway
Suite 120
Maricopa, AZ 85139
Phone: (520) 494-3877

 

San Manuel
23 S McNab Pkwy
San Manuel, AZ 85631
Phone: 520-252-4707