What are OTC (Over-The-Counter) Hearing Aids?

OTC hearing aids are a new classification of hearing aids that do not require a prescription from any hearing health medical professional for purchase. These hearing aids are used by adults aged 18 and above who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss. Like amplifiers, these hearing aids work by amplifying or making the sounds from your environment louder so that you can listen without difficulty. 

Such hearing aids help you to participate in daily life activities as if you were not suffering from hearing loss because you can listen, understand and communicate better. It is convenient for users as these hearing aids connect to your iPhone or Android just like any other wireless device.

OTC hearing aids can be used to treat mild to moderate hearing loss in adults and thanks to modern technology, modern OTC hearing aids can be connected to your mobile devices for more control and customization.

How do OTC hearing aids work?

OTC hearing aids Vs. Prescription hearing aids

OTC hearing aids can be used to help adults with hearing loss ranging from 20 dB to 60 dB - mild to a moderate hearing loss, a decibel range set by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. You can get such hearing aids without the endorsement of a hearing health professional. A simple way you can check yourself whether you are suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss is by observing whether you need people to repeat themselves more often than not, listen to the TV louder than your peers in the same room, or some sounds seem muffled to you, unlike others.

OTC hearing aids are a much more convenient and cost-effective solution for mild to moderate hearing loss but if you are a person suffering from severe hearing loss, the prescription hearing aid is the only way to go.
A Venn Diagram comparing OTC and Prescription hearing aids

On the other hand, prescription hearing aids are mostly required if you have severe hearing loss. An example of severe hearing loss is a person in a quiet room struggling to hear a loud sound. This can be caused by prolonged exposure to damaging noise levels, accidents, and side effects of medical treatments such as chemotherapy. In such cases, specialized hearing aids that medical professionals tune as per audiogram results are prescribed. While prescription hearing aids can be used to treat mild to moderate hearing loss, it is an overkill.

What are the benefits of OTC hearing aids?

The two greatest benefits of OTC are cost and convenience. OTC hearing aids and good-quality assistive listening devices are now available at a bargain thanks to hearing technology becoming cheaper, more accessible, and robust. You can get various qualities of OTC hearing aids with different features that can increase your quality of life.

Features and benefits of OTC hearing aids that make them an attractive choice for most adults with mild to moderate hearing loss
Features and benefits of OTC hearing aids

Furthermore, it is exceptionally convenient to buy OTC hearing aids thanks to online stores that deliver to your doorstep. Another convenience is the ease to use of hearing aids such as from Hear-Hi,  with simple instructions, and intuitive software like My Hearing Acuity. You can make your custom listening profiles and connect to your iPhone or Android seamlessly.

What are the drawbacks of OTC hearing aids?

While modern hearing aid manufacturers like Hear-Hi do offer personalized listening profiles, OTC hearing aids are not individualized in any aspect. They are made to address a big part of the population suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss, so it is only helpful for a specific range of hearing loss.

Another drawback is the non-affiliation of OTC hearing aids with a credible organization that can maintain an industrial product standard for hearing assistive devices. It is recommended to only buy OTC hearing aids from renowned and trusted players in the market such as Hear-Hi. Otherwise, it is difficult to ensure that the product you are getting is maintained and standardized.

What kind of maintenance do OTC hearing aids require?

If you wish your OTC hearing aids to last a long time, here is a checklist you can use to make sure that your hearing aids stay spick and span.

Use a dry cloth to wipe

As with all other electronics, moisture is the greatest enemy. Never wipe with a wet cloth. Wipe your OTC hearing aids with a clean, dry cloth.

Always use a clean, dry cloth to wipe your hearing aids to prevent the sensitive electronics inside from being exposed to moisture.
How to clean a hearing aid?

Keep an eye on battery health

OTC hearing aids come with a swappable battery so that you are not stuck with one battery for a lifetime. Stay vigilant about how long your battery lasted in the early days and then later on. If you feel like the difference is getting bigger, replace the old battery with a new one so that your hearing aids can continue to perform all the functions properly.

Check the opening for earwax build-up or debris

The hearing aid would be of no use if the speaker opening is blocked by earwax or other debris substantial enough to muffle the amplified sound. Always keep the speaker opening clean from earwax and other debris.

The speaker opening in hearing aids must be kept clean and free of any earwax build-up to avoid the muffled sound.
Remove earwax and debris from the opening with appropriate tools

Store them in an appropriate environment

Always store your hearing aids in a cool, completely dry environment to avoid moisture build-up. The case your hearing aids come in is also suitable for the job but be mindful to check that case for any moisture every now and then as humid climates can cause moisture inside the case.

Considerations for selecting OTC hearing aids

If you are new to the OTC hearing aids world and want your first choice to be without regrets, you can choose any hearing aid from Hear-Hi from its huge collection of assistive listening devices. Our products have been industry-defining and offer a huge value for money as compared to big brand names with the latest features such as feedback and noise cancellation. Our customer support is 24/7 ready to guide, help and assist you in achieving a better hearing experience.