Which Listening to Assist is Proper for You? This is What to Know

Final August, listening to aids lastly grew to become obtainable over-the-counter — which means they are often bought at your native drugstore with no prescription or journey to the physician. They’re extra reasonably priced than conventional listening to aids too, costing as little as just a few hundred {dollars} as an alternative of hundreds.

However there’s quite a bit it’s good to learn about over-the-counter listening to aids earlier than you place an order. They might be straightforward to get, but it surely’ll take a bit of extra legwork in your half to make sure you’re getting the suitable OTC listening to support for you and your way of life. This is every part it’s good to know.

Who’s appropriate for a listening to support?

Listening to aids may be useful for individuals who had been born with listening to loss or who’ve discovered their listening to reducing both from age or some other variety of causes. Whereas momentary listening to loss can occur to anybody — and may often be remedied with medical remedy — everlasting listening to loss may be handled by listening to aids. 

Indicators of listening to loss

  • Asking individuals to repeat themselves ceaselessly
  • Problem understanding some letters of the alphabet
  • Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
  • Struggling to differentiate voices in crowds
  • Vague talking on account of incapability to listen to your self
  • Listening to music at a louder quantity than you used to
  • Discomfort in social settings as a result of you may’t sustain with conversations

Must you get your listening to aids over-the-counter?

Doctor showing woman different hearing aids

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Over-the-counter listening to aids have gotten an increasing number of standard on account of their affordability issue and the benefit of getting them. Laurie Hanin, Ph.D., CCC-A, government director on the Heart for Listening to and Communication, notes that one of many greatest issues individuals must learn about OTC listening to aids is that they do not require a listening to check. Whereas that will sound prefer it makes it simpler to seize certainly one of these units, she factors out that that additionally means these listening to aids aren’t fairly as personalised. 

“As a generalization, {custom} aids usually tend to have a greater variety of options and complicated expertise than OTC aids. A few of these could also be vital for a person person,” she stated. 

“A {custom} support will at all times be chosen after a listening to check, and the particular system chosen by your audiologist or dispenser will likely be one that’s thought-about to be the perfect on your wants. It’ll then be programmed to particularly suit your listening to loss and listening to wants,” Hanin added.

OTC listening to aids may be bought simply on-line, although you can even discover them at your native drugstore. Audiologist Dr. Sarah Lundstrom, who’s a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a member of the Florida Academy of Audiology and a board-certified member of the American Board of Audiology, warns, although, that purchasing on your OTC listening to aids can go mistaken in the event you’re not tremendous cautious. 

“Most on-line or mail-in listening to aids don’t include companies or follow-up care,” she says. “When buying with knowledgeable, you sometimes get a guaranty and follow-up companies to boost your success.” That does not imply you may’t buy your listening to aids over-the-counter after which see an audiologist for additional care — which Lundstrom advises.

Advantages of over-the-counter:

  • Simple to buy on-line and in shops
  • Often extra reasonably priced than custom-fit units

Elements to think about:

  • Not personalised — they are not made to suit or fit your particular listening to wants
  • No skilled assist with the choice

Selecting the perfect OTC listening to support for you

Man wearing hearing aid on a hike with a woman. His hearing aid keeps up with his lifestyle.

Pekic/Getty Pictures

Over-the-counter listening to aids aren’t for everybody — the FDA regulates them a bit in another way from prescription listening to aids, they usually’re not beneficial for extreme listening to loss or for anybody below the age of 18. When you’ve got gentle to reasonable listening to loss and also you’re an grownup, here is the way to choose the suitable listening to support for you.


There are 4 major silhouettes of listening to aids: behind-the-ear, receiver within the canal, in-the-ear and fully within the canal. You possibly can choose the design you want based mostly in your way of life and the aesthetic you need. Behind the ear listening to aids are probably the most seen but in addition probably the most sturdy.

Diploma of listening to loss

As a result of OTC listening to aids are rather less highly effective and rather less precise than {custom} listening to aids, they’re higher fitted to gentle to reasonable listening to loss. There are totally different kinds of listening to aids that change within the degree of listening to loss they work for, so it is vital to have a look at that earlier than you select. Behind-the-ear listening to aids and in-ear listening to aids just about all work for reasonable listening to loss, but when your listening to loss is a bit more extreme, the listening to aids that sit absolutely contained in the ear have a tendency to really be the least highly effective.


OTC listening to aids are typically more cost effective than prescription listening to aids, particularly if you do not have medical health insurance. OTC aids can price as little as just a few hundred {dollars}, whereas prescription ones may be hundreds. You possibly can possible discover listening to aids at a wide range of worth factors, however Lundstrom advises individuals to be cautious about discovering something too low-cost. 

“Generally much less expansive means you aren’t getting the identical high quality of product, both decrease expertise degree or defeatured expertise,” she stated.

Wi-fi connectivity

Some OTC listening to aids are outfitted with Bluetooth expertise to hook up with your telephone or different digital units, which may be useful if that is one thing you are on the lookout for. 

Way of life

Not all listening to aids are created equal. Some are designed to be waterproof, and a few are extra sturdy than others. Select a listening to support that can fit your way of life — which implies desirous about your each day actions. Should you work out quite a bit, you may want a sturdy listening to support that is waterproof to sweat and warmth. 


Check out all of the options OTC listening to aids provide whereas making your selection on which is for you. Take into account battery life, sound high quality, and so on. When you’ve got extra extreme listening to loss, you will need listening to aids that maybe scale back extra background noise than others. Should you’re usually on the go, you in all probability need listening to aids with an extended battery life that you simply will not need to take care of as usually. 


It is vital to search for listening to aids with warranties or risk-free trials; that approach, you might have some leeway to strive them out and return them if they are not what you want. As Lundstrom factors out, buying listening to aids on-line from a resale market (she stated yow will discover lots on eBay) will possible void the guarantee or trial. As a substitute, attempt to buy the listening to aids immediately from a retailer or model that gives a guaranty or trial.

Useful customer support

One of many greatest drawbacks that Hanin factors out with OTC listening to aids is that you simply’re largely going concerning the course of by your self. Since you’re possible not working with an audiologist throughout this course of, you wish to choose listening to aids from an organization or retailer with dependable customer support. That approach, you probably have considerations along with your buy, you do not have to fret about getting assist.


Some listening to aids require extra upkeep than others, whether or not it is the frequency that you must clear them or change batteries. Should you do not wish to mess with that an excessive amount of, hunt down listening to aids which have an extended battery life, or ones that will not have to be cleaned as usually. Some listening to support kinds are extra liable to gathering ear wax and buildup, so be aware of that in your choice course of.

When to see a physician

Although it isn’t required to see an audiologist or get a listening to check for an OTC listening to support, Hanin suggests seeing one anyway. “For my part, nobody ought to select to purchase an OTC listening to support with out getting a listening to check and seeing an audiologist,” she stated. “The audiologist ought to then be capable of assist information you to the type of OTC support to think about. If one has bought an OTC support on their very own however then needs help, many audiologists could be keen to offer the help for a payment. Nonetheless, many would require a listening to check to work with a person.”

If nothing else, you need to see an audiologist in the event you’ve tried to get an OTC listening to support and you are still having listening to loss, otherwise you really feel like your listening to support is not offering the help you want. A health care provider can tackle your listening to loss and assist you determine the easiest way ahead.

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