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Should I buy my hearing aids on Amazon?

Online shopping has become such a prominent way of shopping. It’s easy, quick and convenient, you can do it from the comfort of your home. The convenience is uncanny, while using your favorite moisturizer you notice it is almost done; with your busy schedule, you won’t be able to block out time to go get a new one so you go on your phone and open Amazon. Within minutes, your new moisturizer is scheduled to arrive at your front door the next day.

Retailers like Amazon are great for purchasing clothes, electronics, toys and many other items but not for regulated medical devices such as hearing aids. If you suspect you have hearing loss or experience difficulty hearing, it might seem easy to go online and purchase something marketed as a hearing aid to improve hearing loss but the truth is, you could potentially be doing more harm than good.

Health Canada regulates certain medical devices, including hearing aids, and requires companies to submit relevant information to Health Canada before the medical device can be dispensed by a regulated healthcare professional. Health Canada regulates the quality and effectiveness, of all medical devices in Canada prior to releasing them, and also monitors and surveils any post-market complaints which are communicated to the public.

Similar to vision loss, each person’s hearing loss is individual. If you put on your friend’s glasses, it’s likely your vision is not corrected or possibly may seem worse. This is because the prescription in the glasses is not suitable to you. The same is true for hearing aids. Audiologists conduct a series of tests to obtain more information on your specific hearing loss and use this information to program the selected hearing aid based on a prescriptive formula for your unique hearing loss and lifestyle. If you buy hearing aids off the shelf like you buy a microwave, you will not be choosing the model or style best suited for improving your hearing. It will also not be programmed to suite your specific needs or meet your prescription.

The repercussions of untreated hearing loss can be detrimental. It is imperative for individuals with hearing loss to be fitted properly with the appropriate amplification. Untreated hearing loss can lead to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, feeling of dependance, isolation, and can even increase your risk of cognitive diseases.

Some models of over-the-counter hearing aids emit loud sounds that may be damaging to the hearing system. Due to the poor-quality control of these devices, many individuals will report hearing worse with the hearing devices on, likely due to the low amplification. Even with the volume at its maximum capacity, this might not be enough to amplify sounds correctly for an individual with more severe hearing loss. This can decrease patient satisfaction completely, and can also stop people from seeking further medical attention and treating their hearing loss.

If you have hearing loss, remember that hearing aids are a medical device, and best dispensed by a medical professional. Amazon is great and convenient, but not an appropriate place to treat your hearing.

Written by: Brittany Bowen, CDA

Are you in the Forest Hill or Toronto area and have questions about hearing aids? Stop by Toronto Hearing Health Clinic and say hello, we would love to meet you!
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