HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – When it comes to hearing loss, it’s important to get the right diagnosis so the proper hearing device can then be created. When it comes to shopping for a hearing device on the internet or over the counter, be aware of what you’re getting.

“Within the last year, many products have become available on the market either in-store, over the counter, in the mail, or via the internet,” said Dr. Michael D. Rairigh, Doctor of Audiology at Hermitage Audiology in Hermitage. “These products are all considered hearing amplification or hearing aids, but I want to make sure you are aware these are not all the same thing. When you think of a hearing aid, that is not the same thing you purchased in a store, online, or from an audiologist. They are completely separate ideas and devices.”

Dr. Rairigh says the definition of a hearing aid is any device that aids in amplifying sound. That definition doesn’t cover how well the product actually works or how good it is. He says often time when someone orders a hearing product on the internet or through the mail, they’re just getting a hearing amplifier with no computer chip inside to make them process information. They’re simply making the sound louder or making sound softer based on a wheel or a setting.

“You’re not getting any medical expertise with that product,” said Rairigh. “They are often cheaper because there’s nothing really sophisticated behind them. They’re just an amplifier. No different than a volume on a radio.”

Dr. Rairigh suggests going to an audiologist because the product you’ll get will contain a computer microchip that processes sound a billion times per microsecond. He says after a doctor performs a hearing test, settings are then put into the hearing device that will then amplify the sound for you and process it in a way that is identical to the hearing loss you have specific to your needs.

“The biggest difference is taking that information and processing that so the sound you are receiving is only what you specifically need as an individual,” said Rairigh. “Not the same hearing device everyone else can use. We are personalizing a prescriptive setting for you on the devices that we provide. The ones that you purchase online or in the store aren’t doing that.”

Hermitage Audiology is located at 3135 Highland Road #B in Hermitage. Call (724) 347-2005 and visit them online at HermitageAudiologyPa.com.