OTC Hearing Aids

FDA Approves Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled on August 16, 2022, legalization of ‘Over-the-Counter’ or OTC hearing aids that will take effect within 60 days (estimated mid-October 2022). These products will be available online and in stores to customers without the need of a licensed hearing professional to test or fit the products. What does this mean for you, and how are these products different from hearing aids currently available today?

What does Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Mean?

Over-the-Counter hearing aids are a new class of hearing devices. Different from traditional or prescription hearing aids, these hearing devices do not require a hearing test or licensed hearing professional to fit. Over-the-Counter hearing aids come with general settings with the ability to make small, limited adjustments, typically lumping low and high frequencies. There is also a mandatory volume control. These hearing aids are only designed to assist someone with mild to moderate self-perceived hearing loss.

Benefits of

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

  • Price Tag: Traditional hearing aids are seen as expensive because the cost includes the devices along with the service and expertise of the hearing professional.
  • One Size Fits Most: Over-the-Counter hearing aids are designed for the user to be able to open the box and use the product immediately. This is possible with a generic fit and removal of customizations. Most Over-the-Counter devices come with simple buttons and/or a smartphone app connection for customizations and volume control.
  • Combining Safety and Help: The FDA passed a law limiting the power and output of Over-the-Counter hearing aids for patient safety. These devices are beneficial for patients with mild to moderate self-perceived hearing loss. This means that a patient does not need a hearing test to purchase. Patients still can purchase an Over-the-Counter device after going to a certified hearing professional for a hearing exam.

Limitations of

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

  • Unknown Hearing Loss or Issues: Much like eyesight, hearing loss comes in a variety of types and pose different challenges. Hearing loss comes in a variety of types including sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss; each type of hearing loss impacts different frequencies and may require differing treatment methods. The lack of a physical ear examination may lead to other unnoticed potential issues that can show similar hearing loss symptoms such as ear drum damage or simple wax buildup.
  • One Size Fit Most: Over-the-Counter hearing aids are like generic reading glasses. They are one size fits most with limited customization for comfort. These devices may help if you need a mild correction but will not be specifically designed for your exact needs. Your ears are unique and what you might find comfortable may not be comfortable to the next patient.
  • Lack of Service: Over-the-Counter hearing aids come with little to no professional service or assistance. For the most part, it is a do-it-yourself solution. The lack of regular cleanings, verification, and monitoring of your specific hearing loss leaves room for doubt. Is this device truly helping me? How well does this adjustment fit my needs? Is there a bigger issue or wax build up? These questions plus more stay unanswered.

How is it Different from Traditional Prescription Hearing Aids?

Traditional prescription hearing aids are specifically customized for your needs and comfort.  A licensed hearing professional takes you through a series of physical exams and audio tests to understand your specific hearing needs. The hearing professional will help you determine which hearing aids are right for you and your lifestyle. They can adjust the devices frequencies to match your specific hearing loss needs. The hearing aid can be physically molded to your ear for added comfort resulting in the most natural sounding hearing solution possible.

What Services are Included with Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Typically, Over-the-Counter hearing aids are self-fit with no assistance or support from a licensed hearing professional. At Echo Hearing & Audiology, we believe that everyone should experience the joy of hearing. That is why we are offering annual exams and troubleshooting appointments to all hearing aid wearers. Regardless of what manufacturer or where you purchased your hearing aids, we want to help ensure you are hearing to the best of your ability.

What Levels of Hearing Loss are Treatable with Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

The FDA limits Over-the-Counter hearing aids to mild-to-moderate self-identified hearing loss only. This is to protect patients from potential harm of over amplification which can result in permanent damage and significant hearing loss. Prescription hearing aids that are fit by a licensed hearing professional can work for all levels of hearing loss from mild to profound.

How will I know what my hearing loss is?

There are several online hearing tests available, and you can try ours here! However, they are not diagnostic medical tests. The only way to determine hearing loss or if you may need hearing aid solutions, is to schedule a hearing exam with a licensed hearing professional. Both an audiogram and a physical examination are required to determine hearing loss. 

Clinically, hearing loss falls into different degrees. Mild, moderate, severe, and profound are some of the most common degrees with variations in between. Your hearing loss degree depends on your ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) at different volumes (decibels dB). Hearing threshold of mild loss is 26-40 dB, moderate is 41-55 dB, severe is 71-90 dB and profound is over 91dB.

No matter what type of hearing aids you choose to try, our hearing aid specialist(s) can help ensure all your hearing healthcare needs are addressed over time as your hearing demands change. The first step would be to call or book your appointment online for a complimentary hearing screening.

Patient Reviews

Read a Few of Our Google Reviews

4.9 out of 5 Stars based on 396 Reviews on Google.

Read what some of our patients have to say about our staff and our office!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Maria Capocciama, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Debbie Carfrey, on Google

I thought I was with respect into what was going on with my hearing . She took her time with me and explained everything to me. Great service

Reviewer Profile Photo

Roger Hayes, on Google

I have been one of Karyn Flynn's clients for many years now, and my experience has never been less than 'Excellent!'. I'm a retired engineer, and have asked LOTS of questions, and she has always answered them herself our found the answers from the relevant manufacturer. I would recommend Echo...

Reviewer Profile Photo

Frank Paynter, on Google

Everyone at Echo Hearing & Audiology is courteous and helpful. My Audiologist, Karyn Sokol Flynn, is friendly and professional. She makes the visits fun and is always caring and helpful.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Roseann Duchon, on Google

I love my Dr Karyn ❤️ and of course it was something stupid!!! She fixed in 2 seconds

Reviewer Profile Photo

Connie M, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Lorinda Johnson, on Google

I did not have to wait. Karen was friendly and explained what each procedure would be. When the test was over she explained the results to me. I will be back for an annual check when I get my post card.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Stefanie Logan, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Steve Crum, on Google

Dr Karyn Flynn is very knowledgable,professional and caring. She has been my Audiologist for several years. She is so confident and helpful which has made it much easier for me to continue to wear my hearing aides. Thank you Dr. Flynn.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Nancy Hopkins, on Google

Need help signin

Reviewer Profile Photo

Dale Chatfield, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Michael Butto, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Laurie Riehm, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Rex Eskins, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Meshell Papamihail, on Google

I have been with Echo Hearing for sometime. I must say the staff there staff is excellent. Would not go anywhere else.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Gary Miller, on Google

Awesome experience

Reviewer Profile Photo

Kelvin Miles, on Google

It's always a pleasure to work with the lady at Grove city she very knowledgeable and helpful

Reviewer Profile Photo

Randy Norman, on Google

Great service and they are very speedy in getting things done. Always on time appointments. They have helped my hearing problems and I am enjoying hearing what people are saying again. Thank you Echo hearing.it

Reviewer Profile Photo

Dale Wolfe, on Google

Reviewer Profile Photo

Sharon Gantley, on Google

I recently obtained new hearing aids from Echo Hearing & Audiology. So far, I have been very satisfied with the hearing aids, the initial hearing exam, and the service I have received from Dr. Karyn Sokol Flynn.

Reviewer Profile Photo

Pat Ott, on Google

Great help. Customer oriented. Pleasant experience. Would recommend

Reviewer Profile Photo

Sharon Bathgate, on Google

Very professional. I’ve always liked feeling real good with my visit and the doctor doing something right I can hear

Reviewer Profile Photo

Jack Clark, on Google

Waiting time was great Karyn was great made me feel comfortable she went and helped me so much talking me through my difficulty of hearing she was great I'd recommend going here great experience I needed thank you Echo Hearing Systems and Employees 😊

Reviewer Profile Photo

J c, on Google

Very friendly, very thorough, cares for you like one of her family!

Reviewer Profile Photo

Becky Carson, on Google

To schedule an appointment, call 614-457-5848 while the online scheduling feature is updated on our website.