How to choose Over-the-Counter OTC hearing aids?

How to choose Over-the-Counter OTC hearing aids?

What is the Over-the-counter Hearing Aids?

OTC ( over-the-counter) hearing aids are FDA regulated medical devices that can be purchased directly from hearing aid manufacturers or hearing aid supplier or hearing aid center near me or store online. You don't need to undergo a hearing test, prescription, or make an appointment with an audiologist to purchase hearing aids.

OTC hearing aids are designed specifically for the following population:

·18 years old and above, with mild to moderate hearing loss.

·No prescription or monitoring from a licensed hearing health specialist is required.

·Can complete self-assessment of hearing loss.

·Capable of independently controlling hearing aid settings and software.

OTC hearing aids aim to improve the convenience and effectiveness of treatment in the early stages of hearing loss. It also eliminates barriers to obtaining hearing aids for those who cannot afford them.

Although OTC hearing aids can be self-installed and self-adjusted to help you more conveniently treat hearing loss, they are not always the appropriate method for treating hearing loss. Before starting to use OTC hearing aids, you need to determine the extent of your hearing loss through an audiologist or online listening test. It is best to have an audiologist examine your ears and examine your medical history to rule out hearing loss caused by other issues, which can help you receive timely and effective treatment.

Advantages of OTC hearing aid

·Low cost: OTC hearing aids in the market are relatively cheap, and due to intensified competition among hearing aid sellers, the price of OTC hearing aids is expected to decrease in the future.

·Easy to purchase: OTC hearing aids can be purchased online and at some stores and pharmacies that sell healthcare equipment.

·Easy to use: The manufacturer provides detailed user manuals, volume knob instructions, and program settings, allowing the OTC hearing aid to be adjusted by the user.

How much does an OTC hearing aid cost?

There are many OTC hearing aids on the market, and it may be difficult for you to choose the one that best suits your needs. We suggest that you determine the cost of the product based on the hearing aid prices, warranty costs, additional care provided, battery life, and service life.

When purchasing hearing aids in the market, one important aspect that you should first think over is their price and lifespan. Assuming you need to use an OTC hearing aid for 5 years, according to its user manual or customer service representative, some OTC hearing aids can only be used for 2 to 3 years and then need to be replaced. Therefore, you need to replace the hearing aid twice within 5 years, which has doubled the price of the hearing aid. You may spend a considerable amount of money on hearing aids, so you must have a warranty covering the first few years of use to prevent any malfunctions. Some companies bundle warranty, cleaning services, maintenance, and protection into their product prices, while others charge additional fees for protection and maintenance. For information on battery life and service life, you can refer to the user manual of each hearing aid.

Based on the above factors, the price of OTC hearing aids typically ranges from 50.0USD to 150.0USD, the average price is 90.0USD.

How to save money on OTC hearing aids when you buy?

When purchasing OTC hearing aids, please look over the following cost saving methods to find hearing aids that fit your budget.

1. Pay attention to sales: Hearing aid companies often offer seasonal and holiday related discount sales. Once you have decided which brand and model to purchase, please check the hearing aid website or retail store one week before the holiday to see if you can take advantage of promotional opportunities to purchase discounted OTC hearing aids.

2. Comparison of prices: Hearing aid manufacturers usually do not match the prices of other brands, as each brand and model is unique. But now the same over-the-counter hearing aids sold in retail stores may have different prices. If you find the same brand and model in two different stores, you can usually choose to buy the one with the lower price.

3. Seeking discounts and financial assistance: In most cases, you may be eligible to receive discounted or free hearing aids through certain organizations. Some insurance companies provide hearing aid subsidies, and some government healthcare programs may bear some or all of the costs related to hearing tests and equipment.

4. Choose the features and technology you need: OTC hearing aids come in various models, ranging from very basic devices to advanced hearing aids that can be personalized according to your hearing condition. Buying the highest technology hearing aids may be tempting, but please consider which features you will use before making the payment. For example, do you want a hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity? The volume and settings of Bluetooth hearing aids can be adjusted using a smart-phone application, but some people prefer to use the buttons or turntable of the hearing aid itself for adjustment. Do you want to make a hands-free call? Some Bluetooth hearing aids can transmit audio from your phone. Also, please consider your lifestyle. If you spend most of your time at home, in a quiet environment, or in small groups with friends and family, a basic model and affordable hearing aid may meet your needs. But if you are often in noisy environments, you may need a high-end device with more advanced sound processing capabilities, as well as customized options based on your listening needs in each environment.

5. Battery type: When purchasing hearing aids, please pay attention to whether it is a disposable battery or a rechargeable battery. In most cases, people will choose a rechargeable battery because it costs less, is more convenient to use, and there is no need to worry about electric leakage.

6. Trial periodDue to the fact that the cost of most OTC hearing aids does not include the cost of visiting an audiologist and adjusting the hearing aids, finding hearing aids that offer a trial period can help you ensure that the hearing aids are suitable for you and help alleviate hearing loss, avoiding spending money on hearing aids that are not suitable for you.

7. Warranty period and scopeBecause hearing aids are complex electronic devices, understanding the standard warranty period and the scope of warranty coverage can help you save on repair costs. In OTC hearing aids, a one-year warranty is common, and some manufacturers have standard warranties that include damage or wear.

8. Brand reputation: In the rapidly changing OTC hearing aid market, new manufacturers are constantly emerging. Consumers need to know how to identify reputable companies and avoid giving money to companies that make false statements or sell non genuine hearing aid devices. Finding out whether a company is registered with the FDA is the best method, and reading consumer reviews is also important.

The most suitable hearing loss level with OTC hearing aids

People with mild to moderate hearing loss are the best candidates for OTC hearing aids. For individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss, it is best to consult a hearing specialist before purchasing OTC devices.

The following are 4 levels of hearing loss:

1.     Mild hearing loss: It is difficult for you to hear soft sounds, such as whispering, but you can hear most normal speech unless you are in a noisy or crowded environment.

2.     Moderate hearing loss: It is difficult for you to hear normal levels of speech and you may miss out on a lot of content. In your opinion, people seem to be muttering.

3.     Severe hearing loss: You cannot hear others speaking at normal volume, but can hear some loud sounds, such as the honking of a car.

4.     Profound hearing loss: You cannot hear any words, but you can hear very loud sounds, such as building noise.

Suggested steps for selecting OTC hearing aids

1. Eliminate hearing loss caused by other issues. 

Hearing loss can sometimes be caused by infections, accumulation of earwax, or certain injuries. Hearing aids may not solve these problems, but other treatment methods may be helpful. Therefore, if you find any of the following conditions, be sure to have your ears checked by a doctor:

·Ears discharge blood, pus, or fluid.

·Ear pain or discomfort.

·A feeling of dizziness.

·There is a sudden change in hearing.

2. Test your level of hearing loss. 

Please conduct a hearing test online or with an audiologist, which can accurately measure your hearing loss and help you determine if your hearing loss is too severe to use OTC hearing aids. Even if your hearing loss is mild, if you have complex hearing needs, you may still need professional assistance.

3. Learn about the OTC hearing aids. 

Since you did not receive advice from an audiologist, doctor, or licensed hearing aid pharmacist when purchasing OTC hearing aids, not only do you need to choose the hearing aid, understand its settings, and in some cases program it, but you also need to learn how to correctly wear, clean, and solve problems.

4. Choose the type of OTC hearing aid you need: 

OTC hearing aids come in two types: self equipped and preset. Self equipped assistive devices are often more expensive, but they are subject to more FDA scrutiny than preset devices, which means you can be more confident that they have been proven effective. Moreover, the customization of self equipped OTC hearing aids is also higher, but some users may find the self adaptation process difficult, and not everyone is suitable to use self equipped OTC hearing aids. In addition, you also need to choose the appearance of OTC hearing aids, which have two basic shapes: in ear and behind ear. In ear hearing aids are often small, sometimes small enough to be fully inserted into the ear canal. Back of ear hearing aids include a box containing device hardware located behind the ear, as well as a receiver located in the ear canal or earplugs. Although back of ear hearing aids have a larger volume, they often have better effects in filtering out background noise.

5. Purchase OTC hearing aids for use

After purchasing OTC hearing aids, you need to wear them in your daily life and get used to them. For OTC hearing aids that do not meet your usage needs, make adjustments or seek help from the manufacturer. If OTC hearing aids are not helpful enough for you, please return them according to the manufacturer's return policy.

Where to buy the OTC Hearing Aids?

You can buy the OTC hearing aids online, as well as at stores,hearing aid center and pharmacies that sell healthcare equipment.

What do you should know more before you buy?

Disadvantages of OTC hearing aids

·Limited usage guidance: If you are not familiar with hearing aids or feel uncomfortable with the techniques used, the lack of on-site guidance from a hearing expert may become a disadvantage. You can seek remote support from an audiologist or call or email your hearing aid manufacturer for assistance.

·Less functional: As over-the-counter hearing aids are cheaper than prescription hearing aids, they usually do not use some of the most advanced hearing technologies. If you have a specific type of hearing loss, personalized prescription devices are a better choice.

·Not suitable for all levels of hearing loss: Please note that OTC hearing aids are only approved for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. If a hearing expert tells you that you have severe or extremely severe hearing loss, you will need to purchase a prescription hearing aid.


Potential side effects of OTC hearing aids

It is normal for you to go through a period of adjustment and adaptation when obtaining a new hearing aid. The brain needs time to get used to hearing all the sounds it misses, which can be surprisingly exhausting for some people. Some of the hearing aid side effects you may encounter include:

·Pain in the ear where the hearing aid is located.

·Skin inflammation or itching in the ear canal.




·The device emits a loud feedback sound.

Due to the fact that you do not need to see a hearing specialist when purchasing OTC hearing aids, you may experience some of the aforementioned side effects due to improper placement of the hearing aids in your ear or ear muffs being too large or too small. In addition, you may also have potential health issues that cannot be treated with hearing aids, which need to be addressed by a doctor.

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