Over-the-counter (OTC) vs prescription hearing aids

There are two categories of hearing aids on the market, so let’s compare the differences.

Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids

No professional fitting
or support provided

For ages 18+
No hearing evaluation
is required
One size fits most
No state requirements
for return policy
For perceived mild to
moderate hearing loss
Come with self-guided
Hearing aid programmed and
supported by a professional
For all ages
A hearing evaluation
is required
Standard and customized options are available
Return policy is
mandated by the state
For any degree of hearing loss; hearing aid is programmed to the individual hearing loss profile (audiogram)
Follow-up care and instructions provided
by a professional

Over the counter (OTC) hearing aids

Are they right for you?

Over the counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new category of hearing aids that can be purchased without a professional hearing evaluation. They are made for adults 18 years of age and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.

Can OTC hearing aids help your hearing loss? Answer these questions to find out.

Hearing health

Check all that apply to you:

  • I am younger than 18.
  • I hear differently out of one ear compared to the other.
  • I have had a sudden change in hearing in one or both ears in the past few months.
  • I think I might have a build up of earwax or something else in one or both of my ears.
  • I have taken over-the-counter or prescription medication that causes hearing loss in the past.
  • I have had chemotherapy and/or radiation in the head and neck area.
  • I have noticed drainage from one or both of my ears recently.
  • I experience pain or discomfort in one or both of my ears.
  • I have experienced balance problems or dizziness.

If you checked any one of the statements above, you should have a hearing evaluation before purchasing OTC hearing aids.

Hearing in different environments

Think about your hearing level, then check what best
describes you. Check all that apply to you:

  • I have good to excellent hearing, I do not have problems hearing what people say.
  • In noisy environments, I have good hearing,
  • I can understand conversation.
  • In a noisy environment, I may have difficulty following or participating in conversations.
  • I have difficulty hearing a voice at normal volume.
  • I can only hear loud speech.
  • I can only hear a voice if it is directly in my ear.
  • In a noisy environment, I have great difficulty hearing conversations.
  • In a noisy environment, I cannot hear any speech.
  • I cannot hear any speech or loud sound.
If you checked any option in red, an OTC hearing aid may NOT be right for you.