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 aid 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 aid 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 aid 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 aid 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 aid professional takes you through a series of physical exams and audio tests to understand your specific hearing needs. The hearing aid 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 American Hearing Aid Center, 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

5 out of 5 Stars based on 120 Reviews on Google.

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

The service at Audibel has been wonderful to me. They provide excellent customer service. My hearing aid has been a life saver for me!! I would highly recommend Audibel in Valdosta to anyone that is struggling with hearing loss.

Reviewer Profile Photo

David Conner, on Google

Absolutely the best hearing aid specialist in town! Happens to be my mom but also Chris is one of the nicest and most genuine people that you will ever meet. You will never regret a visit to Audibel for your hearing needs!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Zack Youngblood, on Google

Chris Youngblood and Lora are special people. I have been there with my mom many years. She had excellent care for her hearing issues. Now I am with them for some of.the same issues. Tested and evaluated. Fitted with the best hearing aide. Ongoing teaching and ear care. This is...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Annie wright, on Google

Excellent service!!! Always available if you are having a problem. Highly recommend them.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Judy Lawson, on Google

Chris & Lona are excellent staff. They are there to help out at any time. I love the after appointments that are included in the price of the hearing aids. Going in to get ears and hearing aids checked every couple of months is way worth the price. Custom service...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Wanda Lamon, on Google

I am totally satisfied with my hearing aides from Audible Hearing Center. The hearing specialist, Ms. Chris Youngblood, is highly knowledgeable, extremely patient, and professional in the process of testing your hearing and fitting you with the appropriate hearing aides, tailored to your needs. Lonna, at the front desk, is...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Mooney Man, on Google

You are greeted when you come in. Friendly and professional. I am pleased with the hearing aids and would recommend them.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Buddy Wiegand, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Ashley McLeod, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Tommy Warner, on Google

They are the nicest people. Got in and out quick. Great ladies.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Jeanette Genini, on Google

Great service and care.

Reviewer Profile Photo

David Gaskins, on Google

Chris and Lonna are a great team! They have been wonderful to my mother and so helpful to me. I highly recommend them!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Law Admin, on Google

I've been using Audibel for my hearing needs since 2017. My hearing has changed, and Chris at Audibel has kept my hearing clear! She explains everything you need to know and is very helpful. ❤ If you don't hear well & have to turn up the volume, then get your...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Tonja, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Liza Rice, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Bill Williford, on Google

The staff were very congenial and made my visit pleasant. Jason's exam was thorough and gave me confidence that he was highly knowledgeable and honest. It's rare to find such a professional group of employees in a small business!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Grant Plymel, on Google

I can hear so much better.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Robert Plymale, on Google

Always professional and on time. Feels like family. Always willing to do anything to help.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Kay Eubanks, on Google

Very pleasant and enjoyable experience

Reviewer Profile Photo

celeste henry-kemper (CHINA DOLL), on Google

Jason Murphy and his staff are the best!!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Linda Willis, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Valiera Cornell, on Google

I always have a great experience at Hearing Aid Center! Top notch service from Jason every time!!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Daisy Anthony, on Google

Amazing. He was excellent at explaining things in a very understandable way. Listened to me and asked a lot of questions so that we could “connect the dots” and come up with a possible cause and treatment. Excellent service.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Dona Carruth, on Google

My husband and I are so happy we chose to get our hearing aids here. Jason and Kay care and always go the extra mile to serve their customers well. They're simply the best!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Susan Waterbury, on Google

Jason and Kay are super friendly. I always feel good after a visit with them!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Barbara Payne, on Google