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OTC vs Prescription Hearing Aids: Which One Is Right For You?

Did you know that in the U.S., about 40 million adults experience some degree of hearing loss? If you’re one of them, you might wonder what kind of hearing aid is best for you. There are two main types of hearing aids to consider: over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription. Both have pros and cons, and the choice depends on your needs and preferences. 

This blog post delves into the benefits and differences between OTC and prescription hearing aids, helping you to make a more informed decision that aligns with your hearing journey. Remember, investing in the right hearing aid can significantly improve not just your hearing but also enhance your overall quality of life and cognitive health.

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OTC Hearing Aids

Over-the-counter hearing aids are devices you can purchase directly from a store or online without needing a prescription. They are designed for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss and offer a more affordable and accessible solution compared to prescription hearing aids. They also have a lot of variety. For example, you can choose between types – in-the-ear, earbud, or a traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) with a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC); some older technology includes a thin tube technology instead of a RIC, which could impact price. They also come in three different categories:

  • Self-fitting hearing aids (coded as QUH and QDD): These offer a personalized DIY solution. They come bundled with a smartphone app featuring a self-conducted hearing test. The results from this test are used to configure the settings of the hearing aids. These aids offer the benefit of being FDA-clearance.
  • Non-self-fitting hearing aids (QUG): These are preconfigured hearing aids that feature a limited selection of audio setups for users. They tend to be more affordable, with some offering basic volume controls. However, they lack the customization in self-fitting aids and don’t require FDA clearance.
  • Wearable sound amplifying device (QUF): These are commonly known as personal sound amplification devices (PSAPs). These aids amplify all detected sounds without distinction and often lack a smartphone app for control or customization. They commonly feature presets tailored for different settings.

OTC hearing aids are readily available, allowing you to choose from various brands and models to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. One good option to consider is the Sontro® Self-Fitting OTC Hearing Aids, which offer convenience and affordability while still customizing your amplification needs.

Benefits of OTC Hearing Aids

  • They are more affordable and accessible compared to prescription hearing aids.
  • They can be purchased directly from a store or online without needing a prescription.
  • They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit individual preferences.
  • They offer convenience and time-saving, as no consultation with a hearing healthcare professional is required.
  • They provide sound amplification settings that can improve hearing and overall communication.
  • They can be compatible with other devices, such as smartphones or TVs.
  • They often come with warranties and customer service support.

You should choose OTC hearing aids over prescription if you are older than 18, have mild to moderate hearing loss, and want something more cost-effective. 

Prescription Hearing Aids

Prescription hearing aids, on the other hand, require a consultation with a licensed hearing healthcare professional. They are specifically designed to address a wider range of hearing loss, including severe cases.

When you opt for prescription hearing aids, a qualified hearing healthcare professional will assess your hearing and recommend the most suitable device based on your specific needs. These professionals have the expertise to determine the right level of amplification, as well as other features you may require. They can ensure that your hearing aids are adjustable and programmable to deliver optimal performance and comfort.

Benefits of prescription hearing aids:

  • They are tailored to your hearing loss and preferences.
  • They have more features and options to suit different situations.
  • They provide ongoing support and maintenance from the hearing healthcare professional.

If you have more severe hearing problems and need professional guidance, you should choose prescription hearing aids over OTC. 

OTC vs Prescription Hearing Aids: Which One is Better?

Selecting the appropriate hearing aid can greatly impact your quality of life. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription hearing aids each have their own pros and cons, and the optimal choice depends on the severity of your hearing loss, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

To better understand your hearing, we suggest taking advantage of our free online hearing assessment. Don't allow hearing loss to hinder your enjoyment of life's sounds. Contact us today, and let us assist you in improving your hearing.