OTC Hearing Aids:
What You Need to Know
Are OTC hearing aids for you? CHC can help.
On October 17, 2022, the FDA officially permitted the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids which are a new class of lower-priced, self-fit hearing aids.
OTC hearing aids could be a feasible option if you meet the criteria. These devices are intended for people 18 years of age and older with a perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Those with greater than this degree of hearing loss or children and teens are eligible only for prescription hearing aids with the support of an audiologist. In addition, if you have any of these symptoms, you may NOT be an OTC hearing aid candidate:
Tinnitus (ringing, hissing, buzzing) in one or both ears
Better hearing in one ear
Any pain in or fluid/discharge from the ear
History of ear infections or excessive ear wax
A sudden hearing loss or rapidly getting worse
At CHC, we are here to guide our clients in identifying the best type of hearing device for them. Currently, there are a wide range of options, from assistive hearing devices to traditional amplification. OTC hearing aids may prove to be a viable new option for some.
As OTC hearing aids become increasingly available to the public, we will learn more about them and share our findings with you. For the time being, please consider these CHC tips and recommendations.
CHC's OTC Hearing Aid Tips
1. Get Tested - A hearing test—though not required for purchasing an OTC hearing aid—is the only way to accurately determine if you are a candidate for an OTC.
2. Give it Time - Adjusting to a new hearing aid takes time, so check the package to make sure the return policy allows enough time to try it out in different listening situations and to adapt.
3. Know the Features - Look into the terms of the warranty and key features like battery life, wireless connectivity (i.e., Bluetooth), telecoil capabilities, and smartphone compatibility.
4. Read the Warnings - Pay attention to package warnings. If you have any of the medical concerns listed on the packaging or above, see a doctor.
5. Engage an Audiologist - If you're not getting a satisfactory result from your OTC hearing aid, contact your audiologist to discuss your options.
6. Know Your Coverage - While OTC hearing aids are not covered by insurance, prescription hearing aids often are. So it can be very worth your while to check your insurance benefit.
7. Be informed - To be an informed consumer of OTC hearing aids, follow the guide of trusted sources like CHC and the NICDC.
Not sure if an OTC hearing aid is right for you? CHC is here to help and is offering residents of the Tri-State Area a free, 15-minute OTC hearing aid consultation to answer any questions you may have about this new category of hearing aids. To request a free OTC phone consult, please use the button below and select the appropriate appointment type (third on the list).
Role of Hearing Testing
The FDA guidelines do not require that a hearing test be conducted prior to purchasing an OTC hearing aid. However, we believe that the most appropriate recommendation for amplification should be made with a professional hearing test.
Your hearing test can either be done here at CHC or elsewhere by another licensed audiologist and then submitted to CHC. As part of any hearing test, we will always partner with you and help you find the best technology solution that's right for you. That may include OTC options.
Address Your Hearing Needs Promptly
If you have concerns about your hearing, a CHC clinician can help you with a hearing test and determining the best solution to help you get back to enjoying all the things you love. Reach out to us and set up a time with a CHC audiologist. Or, as a first step, try our online hearing screening tool.
For more information about CHC, hearing health topics and more, sign up for our e-newsletter
The Buzz. And be sure to check out our other content on OTC hearing aids.
OTC Hearing Aids: What you need to Know (Oct '22)
CHC's Comments to FDA on OTC Hearing Aid Draft Regulations (Jan '22)
OTC Hearing Aids: What You Need to Know (Dec '21)
OTC Hearing Aids: FAQs (Jan '22)