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Consider a Professional Hearing Test Before Purchasing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Nov 10, 2021 Consider a Professional Hearing Test Before Purchasing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

As Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids become readily available, it is important to know if you’re a candidate for this new class of amplification. While it is possible to complete an online hearing screening to obtain general results quickly, understand that they do not replace an in-person hearing test with a hearing healthcare provider.

Advantages of a Professional In-Person Hearing Test


A Hearing Health and Medical History Review

First and foremost you will have an opportunity to talk about your hearing concerns and have your questions answered. You may be surprised to learn that you have medical conditions that go hand-in-hand with hearing loss. Perhaps cognitive decline, diabetes or cardiovascular disease are present in your medical history. Or maybe you have a new hearing loss that developed after starting a prescription drug.  


A Thorough Ear Examination

There are many reasons why people experience hearing loss, and some of them can be simple fixes. In our office we will thoroughly examine your ears inside and out using state-of-the-art video otoscopy. If your hearing loss is due to a buildup of earwax, we can correct it right away - and you’ll leave with restored hearing. If it’s an ear infection or a perforated eardrum, we’ll refer you for immediate treatment. 


Diagnostic Testing

The goal of a good hearing test is to know the quietest sound you can hear under the best conditions, which usually requires a soundproof booth and calibrated equipment. A battery of tests which includes middle ear testing, pure tones and speech, will determine the exact type and degree of hearing loss you have.


A Treatment Plan

Once all the factors are considered, your hearing healthcare provider will help you better understand if amplification is right for you - and if so, what kind. Consider your hearing test as a starting point to pursue amplification if recommended and desired. 

Limitations of Online Hearing Screenings

There is no doubt that completing a hearing screening online is convenient and will provide immediate results. This is a great first step to identify hearing loss - provided you are aware of some of its limitations. 


  • All earbuds/headphones are not created equal and can lead to inaccurate results

  • No control of the acoustic conditions of the room you're testing in

  • Limited to only threshold testing, no speech

  • Cannot identify the type of hearing loss or its cause

  • Results may be inaccurate

  • Treatment will be delayed

  • No access to expert advice


If you have concerns about your hearing, a professional hearing test can help accurately identify the cause and severity. If your loss falls in the mild to moderate range, and you want to consider an OTC device, we can help walk you through the process.


Schedule a professional hearing test at your nearest Hearing Doctors office.

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