The Truth About Over the Counter Hearing Aids

The Truth About Over the Counter Hearing Aids

  • Oct 03, 2022

President Biden recently announced the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, and now the expansion of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids is one step closer to reality. People with hearing loss are understandably excited: This announcement promises to make hearing aids more accessible and more affordable.

Figure 3 is a bar graph that shows the percentage of adults aged 45 and over who had difficulty hearing at all even when using a hearing aid by age and race and Hispanic origin.

More than 7% of Americans age 45 and older use hearing aids, so greater access to these life-changing devices is huge. But are OTC hearing aids as good as they sound?

Consumers need to be aware of some potential risks before purchasing OTC hearing aids. Keep reading to learn more about the best over-the-counter options – and what to avoid.


The Background on OTC Hearing Aids

Traditionally, hearing aids have been quite expensive and require a hearing fitting from a certified hearing care professional, making it more challenging for people with hearing loss to get the devices they need.



In 2017, Congress passed legislation allowing for the creation of a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids. These devices would be much less expensive than traditional hearing aids and wouldn’t require a hearing fitting.

This legislation wasn’t fully implemented until June 2021, when President Biden signed an executive order instructing the Health and Human Services Department to promote widespread availability of low-cost hearing aids. While this is a major step forward in transparency and equity for those with hearing loss, there are some important unintended consequences that people must be aware of as well.


The Argument for Affordable Hearing Aids

There are many reasons people view this announcement about OTC hearing aids as a positive development:


  1. OTC hearing aids are more affordable than traditional hearing aids.
  2. OTC hearing aids medically don’t require a hearing fitting.
  3. OTC hearing aids will be available over the counter; you won’t have to wait for an appointment with a hearing care professional.
  4. OTC hearing aids can help people with mild or moderate hearing loss.

These factors make OTC hearing aids an attractive option for people with hearing loss. Being able to simply walk into a store or shop online and purchase a hearing aid is a major advantage.


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But that’s one of the many potential dangers of OTC hearing aids. Because they’re so accessible, people might purchase them without getting a professional opinion or fitting first. And without knowing how these devices should work or fit, they may do more harm than good.


How Do Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Work?

With traditional hearing aids, you need to see a medically trained, hearing care professional. You then need to return to a hearing care professional for regular check-ups to ensure the hearing aid is still working properly and your quality of hearing has improved. With over-the-counter hearing aids, that process is completely different.

You can purchase OTC hearing aids over the counter without seeing a doctor or getting a hearing fitting. In some cases, you might need to take a short online assessment to ensure that an OTC hearing aid is appropriate for your level of hearing loss. However, you can ultimately purchase hearing aids whether you truly need them or not, without knowing which brand or type is best for you.


Who Will Benefit From Over-the-Counter Products?

The new FDA regulations mean that OTC hearing aids will be available to anyone over 18 with mild or moderate hearing loss. Those who may not be able to afford traditional hearing aids (which typically aren’t covered by insurance) will also benefit.

Ultimately OTC hearing aids may be seen as the most affordable and convenient option for those with minimal hearing loss. However, by skipping the important step of visiting a hearing care professional or other medical professional for a hearing check, you may not know if there is a deeper cause of hearing loss or other underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. And that’s is just the beginning of the problems with OTC products.


The Problems With Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Lots of people are excited about OTC hearing aids without realizing the additional consequences that come along with this new legislation. Here are some potential problems that could arise from their wide availability.


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  • OTC Hearing Aids Might Not Fit Properly.
    • Buying an over-the-counter hearing aid seems like a great idea, but unless you get fitted by a professional hearing specialist, there’s no guarantee the hearing aid will fit properly. And if it doesn’t fit well, it won’t be as effective. We offer custom OTC options with fittings.
  • OTC Hearing Aids Might Not Be Suitable for Your Level of Hearing Loss.
    • OTC hearing aids aren't suitable for all levels of hearing loss. If you have mild hearing loss, an OTC hearing aid might be fine. But if you have moderate or severe hearing loss, you’ll need a more powerful device custom-fit to your ear. We assist you in selecting the best OTC device. We provide professional care to you. Get better quality & save money by trusting Direct Hearing professionals.
  • A Lack of Quality Control Can Lead to Sub-Par Devices.
    • As companies race to get their OTC hearing aids on the market, there will likely be a lack of quality control. Poor construction using cheap materials could result in hearing aids that don’t work well and might even cause more damage. Our OTC devices have been thoroughly inspected.
  • You Might End Up Spending More in the Long Run.
    • OTC hearing aids might seem like a good deal at first, but you could spend more, especially if you have to keep buying new devices because they break easily or don’t work well. You can avoid a lot of frustration by working with a Direct Hearing professional hearing specialist from the start.
  • You Won’t Have Access to Professional Support.
    • If you have any problems with your OTC hearing aid, you won’t have anyone to turn to for help. You can always call a hearing care professional for support when you purchase through Direct Hearing after you purchase. But you might be on your own trying to figure out how to make OTC hearing devices work for you.


The Benefits of Using Instead

Are non-prescription hearing aids the future of hearing healthcare? It’s hard to say. They have the potential to make hearing aids more accessible for people with mild hearing loss, but there are some significant drawbacks.


5 Star Customer Hearing Aid Reviews

At, we believe that you should always consult with a professional before making a decision about your hearing health. We can provide long term support as well.

Here are some of the advantages of working with a hearing care professional and using instead of an OTC hearing aid.


  1. You’ll Get a Custom-Fit Device.
    1. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for hearing aids. That's why we offer custom-fit hearing aids specifically designed to fit your ear. A custom-fit device ensures that your hearing aids are comfortable and effective.
  2. You’ll Get a Device Suitable for Your Hearing Loss Level.
    1. Not all hearing aids are created equal. Some are designed for mild hearing loss; others are better suited for moderate or severe hearing loss. We’ll help you choose the right device so you can get the most out of your hearing aid.
  3. You Can Choose From a Wide Selection of Devices.
    1. offers a wide selection of OTC hearing aids as well as from traditional leading hearing aid manufacturers, including Phonak, Signia, Widex, and Resound.
  4. Our Customers Stand By Our Products.
    1. We’re proud of the products we offer, and our customers stand by them. You can trust us for your hearing aid needs and be confident that you’re getting a quality product from a company that cares.


Customer hearing aid reviews


Learn More About Your Hearing Aid Options with

 Hearing loss is a common problem, and for many people, hearing aids bring significant relief and improvement in quality of life. However, if you are experiencing hearing loss, you should consult with a professional hearing specialist before making a decision about your hearing health. Simply driving to your local store and selecting an OTC hearing aid may not be the best solution.

At, we offer custom-fit hearing aids specifically designed for your ear and hearing needs. We also offer a wide selection of devices from the leading manufacturers, making it easy for you to find the perfect device for your hearing loss level at affordable prices.

If you’re considering an OTC hearing aid, we encourage you to learn more about your options with first. We’re here to help you every step of the way, and we’ll make sure you get the best possible device for your needs. We even offer a 60-day risk-free trial. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services or to schedule a consultation.