Are You Really Saving Money with an OTC Hearing Aid?

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.

Pros Cons
✔️ 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.

However, you can apply for a hearing aid subsidy, especially for severe and profound hard-of-hearing concerns. Ask us about it.

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.

Our Takeaway

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.

Our hearing solutions include hearing tests and treatment and prescribing hearing aids. Clients may come to get their hearing checked, and we will assess whether hearing aids are required.

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.

What Do Our Customers Say?

Person in charge nice and helpful with warm smiling face. Should you have hearing problem, can seek for her advise.
Catherine Tang Yap
Your service is marvellous! Patient and friendly. Mr Ching has been a customer of The Listening Lab since 2018. We have been attending to him for his follow up reviews and we are glad to see his progress!
Mr Ching
My husband purchased a Siemens Pure 7PX in 2016. We wish to appreciate Listening Lab for their ongoing attention and professional help they have been providing to us.
Mr & Mrs Sriram
madam Low
My mum has hearing loss for many years. Consultant of Listening Lab helped her fitted with Resound hearing aid. His patience and professionalism was greatly appreciated as the hearing aid enable her to hear and communicate with the people around her especially her grand children. We are happy with the services rendered by consultant. Keep up the good work!!
Madam Low
The Voice of two Generations in Singapore radio, Mr Brian Richmond, has chosen The Listening Lab to be his audiology and hearing services provider. We could not be prouder!

Brian is the definitive household name in English Radio since the early years of Singapore's founding, starting with Rediffusion followed by Radio One and now with Gold 90.5FM as well as Vintage Radio Singapore. His honeyed voice and selection of music filling our ears as we lived the bustle of our daily lives.

Soccer fans from the Malaysia Cup era of soccer will never forget his heart-pounding commentary from "live" matches, as we experienced the ups and downs of the Singapore Lions in the 1970s to 90s.

Our Executive Director Kelvin Lee is proudly beaming ear-to-ear in this photo with Brian. But you wont be able to see it through the masks!
Brian Richmond
I started experiencing loss of hearing sometimes in 2010 (41 years old) owing to some medical issue. I was having difficulties hearing conservation especially in meeting. Thus, giving me the fear in attending meeting.

Initially I started with Phonak hearing aid. It helps amplified the sound and I could hear better then. Somehow, my hearing loss deteriorated further that in late 2012 (43 years old), there was profound loss of hearing on my right ear. Even digital hearing aid could not help. On my left ear there is still about 50% to 60% hearing with hearing aid. I was lost at this point of time. I was considering learning sign language. I went to see my ENT specialist and my audiologist Mr. Bala advised me to go for an CI as an alternative to my hearing loss.

I also thank God for Engineer and Scientist, giving them the knowledge to create such a complex and sophisticate device to help those with hearing loss like me. It will be all perfect if the cost is affordable too.
Jonathan Po
madam goh
I took my mum to Listening Lab at Simei to get her hearing aid fixed, during our first visit, she patiently explained the whole procedure to my mum and also explain to my mum why she really in need to fix the hearing aid. She is very knowledgeable, and friendly, and we are encouraged to ask questions. she is also very patient with old people which is the most importance. Also her after service is superb so I highly recommend.
Mdm Goh
My mum, Madam Kek (73 year old) had the Cochlear implant (CI) done on her left side in 10th September 2019. Thereafter, thanks to the subsequent auditory verbal therapy, evaluation from SGH ENT team, as well as, the support from AB's and Listening Lab staffs; Madam Kek was able to hear, comprehend sound and music from her Cochlear implant, Naida CI Q90, and hearing aid (HA), Naida Link UP, for her right side before end year. We are happy that both the CI and HA have improved mum qualify of life. Now Madam Kek is looking forward to work again to pass her time as she can hear and better communicate with others.
Madam Kek
Titus was implanted when he was 18 months old. He is a happy, talkative 6.5 years old now. AB has been with him for 5 wonderful hearing years and we are looking forward to a bright future that lies ahead for him. AB’s Naída CI sound processors are reliable and the technology is constantly evolving and upgrading. When Titus was introduced to Naida Link CROS, his life was enriched. The wireless network established between his Naida CI sound processor and a Naida Link CROS transmitter allows him to hear from both ears. This changes Titus’s life and the way we interact with him. We are also very pleased with the prompt response and service provided to us. The staff in AB genuinely cares! We want to thank AB for making Titus’s hearing journey an enjoyable and a relatively stress free one!
Titus Pang
mr tan
I have been living with progressive hearing loss for more than three decades. Socially, I find myself fearful of communicating with people and at home, watching 'soundless' television programs is a norm.

An unforgettable experience. Trying on a pair of Resound GN hearing aid, I was energized and revitalized and overwhelmed with emotional tears of joy. The Resound GN is truly remarkable and uniquely equipped with three-friendly-user environmental modes that provide hearing comfort wherever we are.

In particular, I like to extend my utmost gratitude to Hearing Consultant. With her profound compassion and wisdom in guiding me, I am confident that I can forge a formidable partnership with the Listening Lab; So that I can rebuild a new chapter of a happy and value-creative life and simultaneously, leaving behind the painful memories of the past three decades.
Mr Tan

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