Read Over the Counter Hearing Aids: A New Way to Get Hearing Aids for more information.

Over the Counter Hearing Aids: What are the pros and cons?

Tackling hearing aids can seem daunting especially with the new popularity of over-the-counter hearing aids. Navigating the hearing aid market is challenging when you want to ensure you are receiving an adequate device without overbuying. So what are the pros and cons of the over-the-counter hearing aids versus the hearing aids you can buy from a professional? 

Over The Counter (OTC)  Hearing Aids

These hearing aids are typically marketed in magazines, commercials, or targeted advertising for elderly people. The hearing aids are not individualized for a person or their hearing loss. They cannot be manipulated by hearing care professionals. Typically these hearing aids are just amplifiers and not complex medical devices. Over-the-counter hearing aids are “one size fits all” meaning they cannot be adjusted or changed for an individual. 

Medical Device Hearing Aids

These hearing aids are the ones that you can purchase from a hearing care professional like an audiologist. They are not the hearing aids that are typically advertised and are usually more expensive devices. These hearing aids are highly individualized for a person, their hearing loss, and their hearing lifestyle. They come in different technology levels which can influence the price of the device. Medical Device Hearing Aids are accommodating to ALL hearing losses and types and are monitored by a hearing care professional. 

Recently President Joe Biden signed an executive order creating “the wide availability of low-cost hearing aids” in order to give people the access they need to hear. These low-cost hearing aids fall under the classification of an over-the-counter hearing aid. So what are the pros and cons of each type of device? 

Over The Counter Hearing aids 

Pros

  • Affordable 

Cons

  • Not adjustable 
  • Not individualized 
  • Only helpful for specific types and degrees of hearing loss (flat mild hearing losses)
  • Not approved by the FDA 
  • No care provider overseeing the use of the device
  • Difficult to maintain on your own

Medical Device Hearing Aids 

Pros

  • Adjustable and individualized 
  • Helpful for all types and degrees of hearing loss
  • Approved by the FDA 
  • Care Provider oversees fit and use of devices 
  • Different technology levels for lifestyle

Cons

  • Expensive 
  • Require maintenance appointments with the provider 

The first step in the hearing aid process is understanding your hearing loss. Talk to your local hearing care professional for the best course of action for your specific loss whether that’s an OTC hearing aid or a medical device.