Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

In late 2022, the FDA approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids. But what does this mean for you? This new ruling means that customers can now purchase specially manufactured hearing aids either in-person or online without a prescription. That means that anyone (over the age of 18) can buy OTC hearing aids to treat self-perceived hearing loss. Game changing! Let’s discuss. 

What Are Over-the-counter Hearing Aids? 

So first things first, what is an OTC hearing aid? Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new class of hearing devices available to adults 18 years of age and older. These specific devices do not require a prescription or professional diagnosis to purchase, making them significantly more accessible. However, that does not mean these devices are a replacement for prescription hearing aids. 

The differences between over-the-counter and prescription hearing aids 

As we mentioned before, OTC hearing aids are not a one-to-one replacement for prescription devices. For instance, prescription hearing aids are custom programmed to a patient’s hearing loss. OTC hearing aids are not and can best be described as “one-size-fits-most” due to limited features and functionality. They may have general settings for minor adjustments, a required volume control, and perhaps some preset programs. The volume control is required by law, but other settings and features will depend on the model and manufacturer. 

Pros and cons of OTC devices 

Over-the-counter hearing aids are a game changer for sure. And while this new type of device does have its benefits, it also has a few limitations. If you’re considering OTC devices, be sure to get familiar with the pros and cons first. 


Safe and effective: OTC devices are FDA approved to treat self-perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. 

Price: OTC hearing aids are less expensive than their prescriptive counterparts due to their limited functionality and lack of professional services. 

Accessibility: Over-the-counter devices do not require a professional diagnosis or a prescription, and are cheaper, making them more accessible to patients with self-identified hearing loss. 


No professional diagnosis: OTC hearing aids can be purchased without a prescription, meaning that the cause, type and severity of hearing loss remains undiagnosed. 

On-size-fits-most: Like over-the-counter reading glasses, OTC hearing aids have limited features and may not fully treat your specific hearing loss. 

No support: OTC devices do not have to be purchased from a licensed professional, which means patients miss out on custom fitting, advanced programming, hearing health monitoring and additional support. 

Are Over-the-counter Hearing Aids Right for Me? 

While we strongly encourage anyone who suspects they have hearing loss to seek professional guidance, we understand that’s not possible for everyone. Over-the-counter devices are perfect for individuals who perhaps aren’t ready to seek help from a hearing specialist or for patients who want to manage their mild to moderate hearing loss on their own.   

For these types of individuals, however, we still recommend actively monitoring your hearing health for any changes. Again, OTC hearing aids are FDA-approved for mild to moderate hearing loss only. As a result, if your hearing changes or suddenly worsens, it’s best to consult a professional who can create a treatment plan that best addresses your unique hearing loss.

Requires professional diagnosis NoYes
Professionally fitted and programmed NoYes
Age requirement Yes; for +18 years and older No; for all ages 
State-required return policy NoYes
Features Limited adjustments and controls Standard and custom features available 
Hearing loss degrees Mild to moderate hearing loss All degrees of hearing loss 
Instructions Self-guided Professionally administered 

Where can I purchase over-the-counter hearing aids? 

As the name suggests, over-the-counter hearing aids will be available for purchase at pharmacies, various retail stores and even certain hearing care clinics. In fact, we here at Pattillo Balance and Hearing Center offer a line of OTC hearing aids. If you’re interested or perhaps want a professional’s opinion, consider stopping by and speaking with one of our hearing specialists. 

OTC vs Prescription: Weigh Your Options at Pattillo Balance and Hearing Center 

Over-the-counter hearing aids are a good starting point for some, but they aren’t a perfect fit. If you’re ready to take your hearing health seriously, stop by Pattillo Balance and Hearing Center for a FREE hearing screening. Our friendly, knowledge team of hearing specialists can discuss your hearing loss treatment options, including OTC devices. 

Ready to take the next step towards better hearing? Schedule a hearing aid fitting today.

Not sure whether you have hearing loss? We also offer FREE hearing screenings.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Schedule Now