Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

A New Class of Hearing Aids

FDA Approves Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled on August 16, 2022, legalization of ‘Over-the-Counter’ or OTC hearing aids that will take effect within 60 days (estimated mid-October 2022). These products will be available online and in stores to customers without the need of a licensed hearing professional to test or fit the products. What does this mean for you, and how are these products different from hearing aids currently available today?

What Does Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Mean?

Over-the-Counter hearing aids are a new class of hearing devices. Different from traditional or prescription hearing aids, these hearing devices do not require a hearing test or licensed hearing professional to fit. Over-the-Counter hearing aids come with general settings with the ability to make small, limited adjustments, typically lumping low and high frequencies. There is also a mandatory volume control. These hearing aids are only designed to assist someone with mild to moderate self-perceived hearing loss.

Benefits of

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

  • Price Tag: Traditional hearing aids are seen as expensive because the cost includes the devices along with the service and expertise of the hearing professional.
  • One Size Fits Most: Over-the-Counter hearing aids are designed for the user to be able to open the box and use the product immediately. This is possible with a generic fit and removal of customizations. Most Over-the-Counter devices come with simple buttons and/or a smartphone app connection for customizations and volume control.
  • Combining Safety and Help: The FDA passed a law limiting the power and output of Over-the-Counter hearing aids for patient safety. These devices are beneficial for patients with mild to moderate self-perceived hearing loss. This means that a patient does not need a hearing test to purchase. Patients still can purchase an Over-the-Counter device after going to a certified hearing professional for a hearing exam.

Limitations of

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

  • Unknown Hearing Loss or Issues: Much like eyesight, hearing loss comes in a variety of types and pose different challenges. Hearing loss comes in a variety of types including sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss; each type of hearing loss impacts different frequencies and may require differing treatment methods. The lack of a physical ear examination may lead to other unnoticed potential issues that can show similar hearing loss symptoms such as ear drum damage or simple wax buildup.
  • One Size Fit Most: Over-the-Counter hearing aids are like generic reading glasses. They are one size fits most with limited customization for comfort. These devices may help if you need a mild correction but will not be specifically designed for your exact needs. Your ears are unique and what you might find comfortable may not be comfortable to the next patient.
  • Lack of Service: Over-the-Counter hearing aids come with little to no professional service or assistance. For the most part, it is a do-it-yourself solution. The lack of regular cleanings, verification, and monitoring of your specific hearing loss leaves room for doubt. Is this device truly helping me? How well does this adjustment fit my needs? Is there a bigger issue or wax build up? These questions plus more stay unanswered.

How Do Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Differ from Traditional Prescription Hearing Aids?

Traditional prescription hearing aids are specifically customized for your needs and comfort.  A licensed hearing professional takes you through a series of physical exams and audio tests to understand your specific hearing needs. The hearing professional will help you determine which hearing aids are right for you and your lifestyle. They can adjust the devices frequencies to match your specific hearing loss needs. The hearing aid can be physically molded to your ear for added comfort resulting in the most natural sounding hearing solution possible.

What Services are Included with Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Typically, Over-the-Counter hearing aids are self-fit with no assistance or support from a licensed hearing professional. At SoundWorks Hearing Centers, we believe that everyone should experience the joy of hearing. That is why we are offering annual exams and troubleshooting appointments to all hearing aid wearers. Regardless of what manufacturer or where you purchased your hearing aids, we want to help ensure you are hearing to the best of your ability.

To find out more about our services, click here.

What Levels of Hearing Loss are Treatable with Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

The FDA limits Over-the-Counter hearing aids to mild-to-moderate self-identified hearing loss only. This is to protect patients from potential harm of over amplification which can result in permanent damage and significant hearing loss. Prescription hearing aids that are fit by a licensed hearing professional can work for all levels of hearing loss from mild to profound.

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

Hearing is essential to our everyday lives. We encourage annual monitoring of your hearing health to keep a watchful eye on changes. Getting the support you need early will ensure you maintain connected to those around you and so you can hear your very best.

There is a new category of hearing aids that are now available over-the-counter. This category will be a great option for many, but is not right for everyone. It’s a good idea to consult a hearing professional on your unique hearing loss and needs to guide you to the right solution for you.

OTC

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 instructions

Prescription

Hearing Aids

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

How Will I Know What My Hearing Loss is?

There are several online hearing tests available, and you can try ours here! However, they are not diagnostic medical tests. The only way to determine hearing loss or if you may need hearing aid solutions, is to schedule a hearing exam with a licensed hearing professional. Both an audiogram and a physical examination are required to determine hearing loss. 

Clinically, hearing loss falls into different degrees. Mild, moderate, severe, and profound are some of the most common degrees with variations in between. Your hearing loss degree depends on your ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) at different volumes (decibels dB). Hearing threshold of mild loss is 26-40 dB, moderate is 41-55 dB, severe is 71-90 dB and profound is over 91dB.

No matter what type of hearing aids you choose to try, our hearing aid specialist(s) can help ensure all your hearing healthcare needs are addressed over time as your hearing demands change. The first step would be to call or book your appointment online for a complimentary hearing screening.

Hearing loss is as unique as a fingerprint. While Over-the-Counter hearing aids may be a starting point for some, there are many considerations when choosing the correct treatment for your hearing loss. We recommend partnering with a hearing health professional to find the solution that is right for you. Get the individual treatment you need, schedule your appointment today.

Patient Reviews

Read a Few of Our Google Reviews

4.9 out of 5 Stars based on 1799 Reviews on Google.

Read what some of our patients have to say about our staff and our office!

Reviewer Profile Photo

John Childers, on Google

Friendly and excellent service

Reviewer Profile Photo

Dan Bryant, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Terry Clements, on Google

No wait. Phillip updated firmware and re-set audio levels. Very helpful visit.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Allen Faulk, on Google

Great Service !!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Diane Miller, on Google

Wonderful service very nice people

Reviewer Profile Photo

Carlynn Sisk, on Google

Quick and friendly, would recommend to friends and family

Reviewer Profile Photo

Bobbie Jo, on Google

Very Nice. Excellent service !

Reviewer Profile Photo

Bryant Eddy, on Google

The staff was very friendly and helpful and Phillip Gandy HHS did a thorough exam and explained everything were I was fully knowledgeable of my situation.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Gary Wilkerson, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Sarah Hodges, on Google

Very good to listen to me and understand, then determined to solve whatever issue I had. Great experience.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Rick Douglas, on Google

It was quick and very easy of a test compared to other test I've had in the past. And things were really simple and explained very well. And very friendly

Reviewer Profile Photo

David j Anthony sr, on Google

Very Kind and Compassionate people.

Reviewer Profile Photo

katty lewis, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Lisa J., on Google

They're awesome. They gave my husband his hearing back, now I can have conversations instead yelling at him in public. Thank y'all so much y'all.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Juanita Mares, on Google

I'm the wife of a husband that couldn't hear. I am so blessed to be able to do things with my husband again. He didn't want to be around people because of his hearing problem. Now we can join our friends for lunch all due to the hearing aids that...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Toni Ogle, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Gail Ratcliff, on Google

Mr. Thomas Mahoney has changed my life. He has made it possible for me to go to work and back to school. I can not describe the blessing he has been to me! He dosent just do this to make money he really cares for his patients and I can...

Reviewer Profile Photo

julie carpenter, on Google

Kevin Hike, my specialist in Jasper, Texas, is always a pleasure to visit with and really knows his stuff.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Jeff Wood, on Google

It’s always a pleasure with this staff and office.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Tabbie McNeil, on Google

Great service

Reviewer Profile Photo

KENYATA HADNOT, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Mel Lehman, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Guy Fox, on Google

Did a great job and fullnof knowledge. Exsprience for the first time was great i really recommend this place

Reviewer Profile Photo

Jon Milledge, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Jim Collier, on Google