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What are Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids?

Over-the-counter (or OTC) hearing aids are a brand-new category of hearing aids. Unlike traditional models, where a patient will undergo comprehensive testing with an audiologist, dispenser, ENT clinic, or other professional hearing care provider, OTC hearing aids can be purchased direct-to-consumer, either online or in retail outlets.

Should I consider OTC hearing aids?

Our goal at Cedar Rapids Hearing Center is to provide you with the best solution for your hearing needs. The best first step if you’re experiencing hearing difficulty is to see an audiologist for an evaluation. The audiologists at Cedar Rapids Hearing Center will perform hearing tests, determine your level of hearing loss, evaluate other factors contributing to your hearing loss and explain the possible options including OTC devices.

Are OTC hearing aids right for me?

Should you consider OTC Hearing Aids?

OTC hearing aids are approved for use only in adults 18 years of age and older who have mild to moderate hearing loss.

It is advised that individuals receive a hearing test from an audiologist to find out the level of hearing loss and know that they are candidates for this type of hearing aid. However, because a hearing test is not required, individuals could instead consider the following questions to identify mild to moderate hearing loss:

  1. Are you able to hear easily in quiet, one-on-one situations?

  2. Are there a few difficult listening situations where you think you would want to wear the OTC hearing aids as opposed to feeling like you would need it in most communication situations?

  3. Does turning up the volume on the phone or TV just slightly help you hear better (this level might be considered a little loud by others but not extremely loud as opposed to needing to turn these devices up quite a bit to a level that bothers others)?

Unsure if you should come in for a Hearing Evaluation?

Take our free hearing self-assessment.

Although not required, we recommend hearing assessments prior to purchasing a hearing device.

Many factors can contribute to hearing loss and each individual will have unique hearing needs. OTC hearing aids are meant to be less expensive than professionally fitted hearing aids. Reasons for lower cost include technology differences and buying only the device and not any professional services.


OTC hearing aids:

  • Are approved for adults 18 years of age and older

  • Are indicated for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss

  • Are available in stores or online and the consumer is responsible for setting up the device, including fitting and tuning the sound

  • Do not require a hearing exam or prescription from a physician or a hearing-health-care professional

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