Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

Recently the FDA finalized regulations for a new service delivery model and class of hearing aids. These are known as over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. OTC hearing aids are self-fit devices intended for adult patients with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. They became available for purchase via retail outlets in mid-October.


OTC hearing aids are different from prescriptive hearing aids. Prescriptive aids are custom fit and are programmed to your unique hearing loss and needs by a licensed professional. OTC hearing aids are designed for individuals with mild loss who prefer a do-it-yourself method.


To find out if you are a good candidate for OTC hearings, the first step is to have your hearing tested by an audiologist.


There are a lot of options for self-fit hearing aids and for some individuals, this can be confusing and overwhelming. At HES, we can help you navigate the options and find the best solution for your hearing needs.


Want to know if an over-the-counter hearing aid is right for you?


Schedule an appointment for a hearing test, and let our specialists help you make an informed choice.

How is an OTC Hearing Aid Different from a Prescriptive Hearing Aid?

OTC Hearing Aids are a do-it-yourself model:

    • Self-diagnose (determine the degree of loss).
    • Self-select (pick the right model from the myriad of options available).
    • Self-fit (adjust to your loss, put in and out properly).
    • Self-maintain (clean and repair).


Prescriptive hearing aids are fit by a licensed professional who will:

    • Diagnose your exact type and degree of hearing loss.
    • Rule out any medical conditions that could be affecting your hearing.
    • Rule out any medical conditions that could be affecting your hearing (fluid in your ears or even ear wax).
    • help you choose the style, model, and features best suited to your needs and preferences.
    • Discuss custom-made or extended-wear hearing aids (not available OTC).
    • Ensure your hearing aids fit comfortably and securely, and you can properly use them.
    • Test to ensure you are receiving maximum audibility for speech. No guesswork is involved.
    • Provide follow-up care and services to help maintain your devices and address any concerns.


PLEASE NOTE: OTC hearing aids are not eligible for insurance benefits. Prescriptive hearing aids allow you to use your insurance benefit.


PRICE: OTC hearing aid range widely in price; some are more expensive than prescriptive hearing aids.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Candidacy


OTC hearing aids are a stepping stone for adults (over the age of 18) with mild to moderate hearing difficulty who prefer a more self-directed process for their hearing help.  They can research their options and address their difficulty independently, which was not possible before the introduction of OTC hearing aids.


OTC hearing aids are not meant for children or for adults who have more than mild to moderate hearing difficulty, hearing loss in just one ear, experienced a sudden change in hearing, or any other medical concerns about their hearing.

Key takeaways for “OTC” Hearing Devices

    • Get a baseline hearing test to determine what class of hearing aids would be best for you.
    • OTC hearing aids may be a good option for people with mild hearing loss who prefer a do-it-yourself method
    • Know your options (price, style, fit, care, and maintenance)
    • Call our Insurance Specialist at 716-544-6210 to find out if you have an Insurance Benefit.
    • Overwhelmed by the number of options available? Come in for a no-charge consultation.

Watch: Dr. Jill Bernstein’s Town Hall interview on WGRZ!