Over-the-counter hearing aids offer a wide range of options – here are things to consider before buying

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ruling in August 2022, nonprescription over-the-counter hearing aids went on sale at pharmacies, supermarkets and consumer electronic stores on Oct. 17, 2022. These devices are intended only for people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.

For millions of Americans, these over-the-counter hearing aids are easier to access and less expensive than prescription versions. Some people view them as a tremendous innovation. Yet others say they won’t work optimally, as the device may be of poor quality, or consumers may not self-diagnose or customize the device appropriately.

As audiologists specializing in hearing care, we are actively involved in health care research and the clinical care of people with a range of hearing disorders. We have also conducted research on over-the-counter hearing aids.

Our aim is to present a balanced view on what is known about over-the-counter aids based on academic research – and provide you tips on what to know when shopping for these devices.