On October 19, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule to create a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices. You may have questions about OTC hearing devices and your hearing health, so we’d like to help you learn more about them.
Do I need a prescription for OTC devices?
No, you will be able to buy them without a prescription, meaning you won’t have to get a hearing evaluation to purchase them.
Are OTC devices for everybody?
OTC devices are only for adults ages 18 and older with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss or are under age 18, you will need prescription hearing devices.
Are OTC devices pretty much the same as prescription devices?
Since OTC devices aren’t on the market yet, it’s hard to answer this question.
We do know that OTC devices will ship with factory presets. Every case of hearing loss is unique, so the chance of finding a pair that works for your specific needs is slim, and retailers will likely not provide adjustments. Prescription hearing aids offer advanced technology and are custom fit by a hearing professional trained to fit devices to provide the right amplification levels to help you hear your best.
Is it okay to skip my hearing evaluation and buy OTC devices?
Hearing loss can change gradually over time, so getting a hearing evaluation before purchasing any hearing device is always a good idea, especially since OTC devices are only for certain types of hearing loss.
Skipping a hearing evaluation also means that your audiologist won’t get a chance to check for any serious underlying medical issues causing your hearing loss, which could have long-term consequences for your health and may lessen satisfaction with any devices.
Have more questions? We’re here to help—talk to our team today.