Are you considering getting an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid? OTC hearing aids can be a good solution for many people’s hearing loss, but they have disadvantages compared to prescription hearing aids.
Let’s examine the pros and cons to determine what type of hearing aids are right for you.
✔️ Affordability compared to prescription hearing aids
❌ Not developed to treat hearing loss with more significance or concerns associated with an injury or underlying medical condition—not recommended for severe to profound hearing loss.
✔️ Some brands offer adjustments and small evaluations by an audiologist
❌ Self-fitting—not custom fit for your ear.
✔️ Some come with a smartphone app that adjusts the volume and settings
❌ Typically offer fewer features than prescription hearing aids
❌ Audiologists cannot provide in-person hearing care after the purchase
❌ Most OTC hearing aids come with shorter warranties vs. prescription hearing aids
1. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are for only mild to moderate hearing loss, while prescription hearing aids can sometimes help with all types of hearing loss.
You can use over-the-counter hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Here are some signs of having mild to moderate hearing loss include:
- Often asking questions or asking to repeat themselves or speak up.
- Speech sounds muted.
- You have a problem hearing in noisy places.
- You often turn the volume higher than others prefer.
You are not required to take a hearing test to try out an over-the-counter device.
Prescription hearing aids are for those with severe hearing loss; you must use prescription devices. An example of having severe hearing loss is if you have a problem hearing in a tranquil place and hearing loud sounds, like the honking of a car. Some specialists say prescription devices are more suitable for those with hearing loss in only one ear. Severe hearing loss is caused by extreme noise injury or caused by chemotherapy or medical drugs since those conditions can be hard to treat.
Although they are more costly, prescription devices present the most sophisticated technology and will sufficiently treat hearing loss issues. They also include support from a hearing professional for fitting and adjustment, so they are suitable for someone who has tried an over-the-counter alternative without success.
2. OTC hearing aids could have different designs to look distinct from prescription hearing aids.
Over-the-counter hearing aids may largely resemble prescription hearing aids. But experts say letting manufacturers market to consumers will foster competition and innovation in hearing aid designs.
Prescription hearing aids have a range of options to design. Some behind-the-ear, in-the-ear, and discreet custom styles are available with different designs and purposes. Your audiologist can help you try out different designs for comfort and fit.
3. OTC hearing aids are often substantially more costly than prescription hearing aids.
Over-the-counter hearing aids’ average price of over-the-counter is commonly cheaper than prescription devices.
Prescription hearing aids: Depending on the model and the intensity of your hearing problem, they can be pricey. However, the overall price already includes professional fitting, the device, follow-up check-ups, maintenance, and audiologist lifetime visits.
4. Prescription hearing aids need a health professional’s help for adjustment, but the user can adjust OTC hearing aids.
With Over-the-counter hearing aids will have to configure them yourself, most likely using software or a smartphone app. Unlike acquiring a new pair of glasses that rectify your vision as soon as you put them on. Hearing aids can take some time to get used to, and it usually takes weeks to adjust your hearing with the device.
If you still have trouble hearing after using the built-in device settings, you may need to find an audiologist’s assistance. Having your hearing checked by then is best to ensure you use a suitable device. Using the wrong device could be detrimental to your hearing and most likely increase the chance of damaging your ears.
With Prescription hearing aids, a hearing health professional will adjust your hearing aids to ensure they suit comfortably in your ears and provide the highest benefit. They will also allow you to practice placing them in and taking them out and guide you on adjusting the settings for various environments. You will have routine follow-up appointments for fine-tuning and upkeep. You can also go back at no additional charge anytime you have a problem for the life of the device.
It is your choice at the end of the day. We highly recommend using prescription hearing aids for long-term upkeep and adjustments. It is also highly noted that most profound hearing loss comes from the misuse of hearing aids and the wrong devices used. Like any device, your hearing aids are meant to help you, provide comfort and make your life easier.
If you have more questions, we are always happy to answer them and provide you with the necessary information on different hearing aids. Send us a message, and we can address them. Visit any of our stores for consultation.
About The Listening Lab
Listening Lab is a home-grown company whose mission is to help our clients restore their hearing to enjoy the life that they desire. Experiencing hearing loss can be detrimental to one’s quality of life. Hence we commit to providing high-quality hearing solutions.
If hearing aids are required, clients can choose from a variety of the best hearing aid brands we provide. Each of the products offers unique features that complement daily use and perform well in helping our clients enjoy the life that they desire.