How to Shop for Over The Counter Hearing Aids

With Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing aids being the latest buzz word, my patients ask me about them every day. Everyone expects them to be much cheaper than hearing aids that are fitted in person. This is not necessarily true.  

I expect OTC hearing aids to sell for around the $500 mark. Personal sound amplifiers (PSAPS) are often lower priced, but not the same quality. If you decide that OTC hearing aids are the right choice for you, I have several recommendations to help you be successful in your journey. 

First, start out with a proper in person hearing test. Have your ears checked for wax and then a full evaluation to determine how much hearing loss you have and whether the loss is permanent or possibly medically treatable. With test in hand, decide which OTC device meets your list of criteria and then provide the company with the test results for the initial setting of the devices.  

Once you receive the devices make a note of the return period and then wear the devices all day every day. Put yourself into all the listening situations where you have been struggling to hear.  

Make a list of all the things you like about the OTC devices, as well as the ones you do not like.  Where have you been hearing better and where have you not? Are they comfortable? When you had questions or problems, did the company provide timely support? 

At the end of the day, if the pros outweigh the cons, you will see the value in OTC. If the cons outweigh the pros, it does not matter how little you paid for them, the value is not there and it is best to return them. It is possible to purchase in hearing aids fitted in person at a similar cost to OTC hearing aids.  In our office we have budget friendly name brand hearing aids starting under $500. DO YOUR RESEARCH! 

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