Over-the-Counter (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 aid professional. At Audibel, 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 aid 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 aid 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

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First time ever getting my hearing examined. Ben put me completely at ease. He explained what he was doing and how it measured my hearing. I always feel better when i understand the process. He was great. Ms. Gwen was great at the front too. Very nice. Top notch operation.

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Paul Rentz, on Google

Ben was amazing!! He took his time to explain how everything worked and demonstrated the functions so that we understood. He even gave us time to explore and experiment with the new hearing aid ourselves. He was extremely patient and knowledgeable. Overall and most importantly he treated us with respect,...

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Britt Williams, on Google

I’ve had a wonderful experience working with Ben Collins at Audibel Hearing Aid Center. He has guided me throughout my journey of wearing hearing aids. The entire staff is very professional and caring.

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Donna Brooks, on Google

Ben Collins is the kind of person I like to work with. He answers al questions and shows you how to do it yourself.

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Bill Jordan, on Google

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Susan Spivey, on Google

The specialist (Mr. Collins) and staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Takes the time needed to ensure you know everything you can about their hearing aid products. Has many options. He made removal and personal installing easy to understand. This office was so pleasant and accommodating we can't wait for the...

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Patricia Williams, on Google

I have been coming to Audible Hearing Aid Center for a year now. The staff is always friendly and helpful getting me through my experience with my hearing loss. My hearing aids are cleaned regularly and adjusted to what level my hearing loss is at the time. I recommend getting...

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Lynn Davis, on Google

Love, love, love Audibel in Douglas, GA. They have a great team of people who will spend as much time as you need and treat you like family! As for their products, I just got my second pair of hearing aids and the quality is amazing. I actually keep forgetting...

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Tammy Harper, on Google

The staff at Audibel was amazing. I had put off going to get my hearing checked for a long time. I have been able to hear so much better. They took their time and explained everything. I would recommend them to anyone.

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Jeff Yarberry, on Google

The most respectful outgoing people in Douglas

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Steve Johnson, on Google

They treat u like family 👪

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Shane Hamilton, on Google

Had a great experience with Wayne at Audibel. He described my hearing loss to me which made it easy to understand. Definitely recommend Audibel to anyone with concerns about their hearing.Truly made a difference in my life.

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Ben Collins, on Google

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Wesley Hardee, on Google

Good service, very nice, high dollar hearing aids, but worth it. The Dr explained all very well, very impressed..👍

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Toni Grace, on Google

Great staff, very understanding and patient.

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Michael Book, on Google

Excellent customer service. Follow up visits have all been great… I absolutely recommend Audibel to anyone with a hearing problem.

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Elaine Mcloon, on Google

Very nice and helpful

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Samantha Sheffield (SISSY), on Google

Awesome service, great people.

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Nora Davis, on Google

Very informative and personal service.

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Edward Coleman, on Google

These wonderful folks help God perform his miracles through technology.

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Roy Farmer, on Google

So friendly and thorough

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Ray Charles Denning, on Google

shout out to David, I can hear again!!

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James Faunce Sr., on Google

They were really nice and treated everyone really good

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Margie Shelton, on Google

Very polite. Very helpful to get help for you if they can't assist you.

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Caroletha Simpson, on Google