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What You Should Know

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids — a new category of regulated devices — are now on the consumer market.

The most important thing to know is that OTC hearing devices are not a replacement for prescription hearing aids. Get the facts, and count on Audiology & Hearing Health for all your hearing care questions.


How Do OTC Hearing Aids Differ From Prescription Hearing Aids?

Over the counter devices do not replace prescriptive devices, nor are they equivalent to them. Over the counter devices are being marketed to the general public in a way that is quite misleading. They are potentially helpful for some hearing losses, but marketing of these devices recommends the purchase of these over the counter devices without having your ears looked at or having your hearing tested. This is not in the best interests of anyone with a hearing loss.


Why Does Getting a Professional Hearing Evaluation Matter?

The professional diagnostic hearing exam goes beyond just listening to “beeps.” It includes communication assessments, a history of your medical conditions (yes, it does matter); objective testing of the health of your outer, middle and inner ears; and measurements of how you hear different pitches and how you process speech at different levels of sound.


Are Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Right for Me?

For persons with a diagnosed mild hearing loss, an OTC device might be the perfect solution. What does a “mild hearing loss” mean? If a person is missing 25-30% of the sounds in a normal listening environment with a person speaking at an average volume, that person has a mild hearing loss. This person probably has issues only in certain situations and the hearing loss is having a mild impact on their listening functions. They would most likely use their OTC device on a part-time basis. Because of the minimal impact and the part-time use, this person would not be considered a good candidate for prescriptive amplification. It’s kind of like reading glasses. You don’t need to wear them full-time, and you get them at the drugstore.


When Are Prescription Hearing Aids the Better Choice?

For anyone missing 35-40% or more of the sounds produced by a person speaking normally, prescriptive devices are a better option for them. This person would be having difficulty in more situations. Their family is noticing a significant impact on their ability to communicate in most or all situations. In fact, loved ones are the first to notice that someone is not hearing as well, while the person with the hearing loss just thinks “everybody mumbles”.

Prescriptive devices are meant to be worn during waking hours in all situations. They are not meant to be used part-time, so they must be comfortable and easy to use. Often customization is a necessary part of a prescriptive fitting. OTCs are NOT prescriptive.

Picking the hearing solution that meets your needs can feel overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. If you have questions, or it’s been a while since your last hearing checkup, don’t wait. Contact the experts at Audiology & Hearing Health to book your appointment today.

ServiceOTC Hearing AidsPrescription Hearing Aids
Complete evaluation of your auditory system by a doctor of audiology or hearing instrument specialist
Confirmed hearing loss diagnosis
Hearing solutions for all ages
Verification of amplification levels
Real-ear measurement
Discreet, customized options
Return policy (in most states)
Walk-in and same-day appointments available
Loss, damage, and repair warranty on most technology(3 Years)
Comprehensive annual examination
Unlimited follow-up appointments(3 Years)
Battery program
Custom earmolds
Flexibility through leasing options(3 Years)
Financing available on approved credit
Earwax removal available