OTC Hearing Aids: Entry-Level Devices for the Hearing Impaired

When people are hearing impaired, they usually assume they need traditional prescription hearing aids. However, this is not necessarily the case. Hearing aids can be costly. Some older adults try to avoid wearing them because they perceive them as a reminder of aging. Having trouble hearing certain sounds does not always mean a person will automatically need to wear a prescription hearing aid. Over the counter hearing aids are like an entry-level device for those who are hearing impaired.


Electronic devices called OTC hearing aids offer many of the same benefits as prescription hearing aids at a fraction of the cost. Hearing aid devices range in products from pocket-size devices that amplify sound, to more sophisticated earpieces that offer similar noise-canceling, sound-enhancing technologies as traditional prescription hearing aids.

Hearing Daily Sounds

These products allow users the capability of communicating in loud restaurants, listening to the TV without having the volume at painful decibels, and some can even offer Bluetooth properties so users can listen to music or answer phone calls directly through the earpiece.

How Do OTC Hearing Aids Differ from Prescription Hearing Aids?

Although OTC hearing aids have similar properties, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions consumers not to substitute these devices for traditional prescription hearing aids. Over the counter hearing aids can enhance the sound at low volume or distance, however, they are not intended for those with seriously impaired hearing.

Explore Treatable Conditions

Substituting OTC hearing aids for prescription hearing aids when you have hearing loss can lead to more damage by delaying your diagnosis of a potentially treatable condition. If you do suspect any loss of hearing, have your hearing evaluated by a doctor. In some instances, treatment could be as simple as removing wax buildup.

Don’t Skip the Hearing Test

There are many signs that signal hearing loss. These signs include having to strain to hear, turning the volume up on the TV or radio louder than most people, only being able to hear out of one ear, and asking people to repeat themselves often because you can’t hear them.

Hearing Evaluated

Although these signs don’t necessarily mean you need a hearing aid, you should still get tested by a medical professional (ENT doctor) rather than letting something go untreated. The issue could be simple or more serious, so it is always a good idea to have your hearing evaluated.

Types of Hearing Devices

Hearing aids come in a variety of different units. The choice is based on the user’s preferences and budget. No prescription is required to purchase an over the counter hearing aid, making it a convenient and budget-conscious choice. Consider the various types of hearing devices currently on the market.

Pocket Talkers

Pocket Talkers have been around for many years. A Pocket Talker is a move-able unit, approximately the size of a pack of cards, which fits in your pocket with an attached microphone that transmits sound signals to someone wearing earphones. These devices are great for a short-term basis when those with difficulty hearing are in a one-on-one situation. They are handy for rehabilitation centers, so those with trouble hearing can communicate with nurses and doctors when they need to.

Ear ‘Readers’

Online, these devices are often marked as “readers for your ears.” However, this claim is misleading. Hearing does not work like vision. There is not a device or surgery that restores your hearing like glasses, or LASIK can restore your vision to 20/20. These cheaper devices are not recommended for loud places. They do work adequately if you are sitting in the comfort of your home. They can be used to listen for the phone or have a quiet conversation with someone.

Other Hearing Aids

Audiologists usually recommend OTC hearing devices that work like prescription hearing aids because they offer the most benefits. These types of hearing aids offer multiple channels. They are used for varying noise-canceling environments, the ability to adjust signals, directional microphones, and much more. These products can also have the bonus of Bluetooth technology to connect to your phone. This is something traditional prescription hearing aids typically do not do.

Otofonix Personal Hearing Aid

Otofonix offers an innovative hearing aid that is designed to look like a traditional prescription hearing aid. They have multiple channels, background noise reduction, feedback canceling, and many more benefits. Review the details about this cutting-edge product to determine if it is a viable option.
Although Otofonix hearing aids can help you hold off on expensive prescription hearing aids, make sure to have your hearing evaluated first. A hearing evaluation can help you determine the best type of device for you. An Otofonix hearing aid can put daily sounds within earshot. You will be able to hear during meetings, television shows, and visits with loved ones.

Thank you for reading our blog! How can we help you? Contact us today.

Looking for a hearing clinic near you? Visit our audiologist directory HERE