The Best Over The Counter Hearing Aids
March 04, 2023

For people that suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, finding affordable hearing aids is crucial to having a quality of life. Often prescription hearing aids are expensive, and finding alternatives like good over-the-counter devices is essential to amplify and boost sound for people who suffer mild to moderate hearing loss.

And with the FDA's recent ruling on OTC hearing aids, the ease of finding low-cost hearing aids is a breakthrough for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. 

In the past, the average cost of hearing aids was over $4,600, and at Audien, we thought that was just too expensive, so we created low cost hearing aids that are more affordable and just as comfortable as the more expensive models. 

Regardless of price, the best over the counter hearing aids are the comfortable ones that people will wear regularly, amplify sound, and help eliminate outside noise. 

Because of the increased use of telehealth, online and app-based hearing tests, and earbud technological improvements, otc hearing aids are cheaper to purchase, adjust, and replace than prescription hearing aids. 

Also, whether you buy hearing aids over the counter or online, they are typically more comfortable and easier to use than prescription ones.

Like prescribed hearing aids, OTC hearing aids are appropriate for adults over the age of 18 with mild to moderate hearing loss, are regulated by the FDA, can be purchased without a traditional audiological exam, and are cheaper than prescription models.

Research by the National Institute of Health shows that people with hearing loss may have a lower quality of life, including depression, anxiety, and social isolation. The impact of hearing loss on mental health and quality of life can be quite detrimental. 

Alleviating the impact that hearing loss has on the lives of sufferers is what hearing aids provide. But don’t confuse cheap hearing devices with poor quality. 

The best cheap hearing aid is as good as any prescription model but is easier to purchase and use than more expensive ones. No matter your needs, an OTC hearing aid can help you hear better and improve your quality of life.

What is an OTC hearing aid

This new category of over-the-counter devices will make hearing aids more affordable and accessible than ever before. The average price of OTC hearing aids will be several thousand dollars cheaper than prescription hearing aids, meaning that more people can now benefit from the technology without breaking the bank.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are a relatively new concept in hearing loss solutions. These devices are designed for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss and can be purchased directly from manufacturers or healthcare websites. 

Unlike traditional hearing aids, which require an in-person visit to an audiologist for fitting and tuning, over-the-counter hearing aids allow users to set up, tune and adjust the device independently.

While these devices may be helpful for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, it is essential to understand their limitations before making a purchase decision. For example, the amount of gain (how much they can amplify sounds) is limited by law. 

OTC vs. prescription hearing aids

OTC hearing aids are an excellent option for those looking to improve their hearing without the hassle of going through a prescription process. 

OTC hearing aids are available without the need for a medical evaluation or fitting, making these devices typically less expensive than prescription hearing aids, as they do not require any additional services or customization. 

Additionally, OTC hearing aids can be purchased quickly and easily, allowing users to use them immediately.

Prescription hearing aids, on the other hand, must be prescribed by an audiologist or physician after a comprehensive evaluation and fitting process. 

This process may take longer than purchasing an OTC device, which for people suffering from hearing loss, may not be worth it. 

Advantages of OTC hearing aids

The best over the counter hearing aids are affordable, customizable, and best of all, you don’t have to go through the process of scheduling an appointment with an audiologist, wait to get a prescription fulfilled, and finally fitted to improve your hearing. 

With OTC hearing aids, you can get your devices in as little as the same day, letting you live your life without the hassle and inconvenience of prescription aids.

When shopping for your next hearing device, knowing what to look for will help you evaluate what makes the best over the counter hearing aids. 

  • Doesn’t require a prescription
  • Cheaper to purchase
  • Adjustable volume control 
  • Customizable fit and performance
  • More comfort and styles to choose from; behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, in-the-canal, completely-in-the-canal, receiver-in-canal and open fit

    When you’re looking to buy hearing aids over the counter versus from a prescription, you’ll want to find convenience, cost, features, ear fitting, and amplification style. 

    Convenience:  With a prescription device, you’re stuck with the device that your audiologist provides for you. With OTC hearing aids, you can shop around and find the suitable device that fits your needs, amplification, and ear type. 

    Cost: The best over the counter hearing aids are cheaper than traditional types, which can cost thousands and be difficult for most people to afford. 

    low cost hearing aids

    Features: Your hearing aid should be customizable and adjustable without the aid of an audiologist and provide features such as tinnitus control, directional microphones, and streaming capabilities. 

    Ear fitting: Your device should help amplify the sounds you want to hear while filtering out those that you don’t, but the essential feature is to be comfortable and easy to wear.

    Amplification: The best over the counter hearing aids amplify sounds directionally and selectively while reducing background noise. This feature lets people with hearing loss communicate effectively, even in crowded spaces. 

    Finding the appropriate hearing aids that are both affordable and comfortable enough to wear can be challenging. But with the FDA loosening some of the regulations regarding augmentation devices for mild to moderate hearing loss sufferers, finding the best affordable hearing aid isn’t as difficult as it once was.

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    Profile photo for Drew Sutton

    Drew Sutton M.D.

    Drew Sutton, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has extensive experience and training in sinus and respiratory diseases, ear and skull base surgery, and pulmonary disorders. He has served as a Clinical Instructor at Grady Hospital Emory University for more than 12 years.

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