Best Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids for 2024: Taking a Closer Look

best otc hearing aids review
January 1, 2024

The New Year is upon us, and it’s a time when many people consider resolutions, including the promise of hearing better and living better. The field of hearing aids is constantly evolving, offering transformative possibilities for those with hearing challenges. Over the Counter (OTC) hearing aids, introduced in the United States in 2022, have disrupted the traditional hearing aid industry by providing an accessible and more affordable alternative for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

These OTC hearing aids have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing them to be sold in established retail stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Costco and online retailers without the need for a medical prescription or audiologist fitting.

They share many hardware components with traditional prescription hearing aids but differ in their software, which varies from one manufacturer to another.

Getting OTC Hearing Aids

Getting an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid typically involves a simple process. Initially, individuals may undergo an online hearing screening or, preferably, a comprehensive hearing examination to ensure their suitability for these devices. Once confirmed, they proceed to purchase the hearing aids from a retail store or online. Upon receiving the aids and inserting them into their ears, users are often prompted to take a hearing assessment using a mobile app interface. These results are then used to personalize and fine-tune the hearing aid settings. Some OTC brands also offer remote assistance for device setup and maintenance.

However, it’s important to note that while these aids cater well to adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, they’re unsuitable for children. Also, individuals with severe to profound hearing loss will not receive adequate amplification from OTC hearing aids. Users should feel comfortable managing electronic devices, utilizing apps to customize settings, and regularly optimizing their hearing aids for performance.

Before investing in OTC hearing aids, consulting a hearing care professional is recommended. They can confirm the extent of hearing loss, rule out treatable conditions that would be covered by health insurance, and determine if OTC devices are a suitable solution.

When considering an OTC hearing aid, a few key points to address include:

  • Customization Level: OTC aids offer self-fitting or preset options. Self-fitting aids allow personalized adjustments based on a self-test and app programming, whereas preset aids offer simplicity but less customization.
  • Preferred Configuration: Choose between behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) aids based on comfort and consistency. BTE aids have hardware behind the ear and a component inside the canal, while ITE aids are generally smaller and fit inside the canal.
  • Customer Support: OTC aids may or may not offer additional support after fitting. Some offer limited professional guidance, though some provide more comprehensive customer service.
  • Return Policy: Most OTC hearing aids have a trial period for adjustment, crucial for acclimatization. Ensure the return policy offered aligns with your comfort and adaptation period.

Benefits (and Limitations) of OTC Hearing Aids

One notable advantage of OTC devices lies in their cost-effectiveness, as their average prices are generally lower than traditional prescription hearing aids. While prescription hearing aids might cost around $4,000 or more on average for a pair, many OTC hearing aids today average around $1,000-$1,500 per pair, leading to significant cost savings. However, it’s important to acknowledge that a substantial portion of the cost associated with prescription hearing aids covers the services required for proper fitting, calibration, and follow-up care provided at a professional office.

Similar to prescription hearing aids, prices for OTC devices can vary significantly, and some OTC options might even be more expensive than a set of professionally fitted prescription devices. Therefore, conducting thorough research before purchasing is crucial.

The advantages of OTC devices also encompass flexible payment choices, remote support, and the convenience of online purchasing, especially with established hearing aid manufacturers entering the OTC market. This has broadened access to hearing aids for a wider audience.

However, OTC devices do have limitations. They are specifically made for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss, which could lead to misdiagnosis due to the absence of professional guidance. Moreover, these devices tend to offer fewer advanced features compared to premium prescription devices and generally come with shorter warranties.

Currently, OTC hearing aids are only available in the United States.

Top OTC Hearing Aid Picks

With the increasing popularity of OTC hearing aids, here are some top picks in the USA:

Lucid Hearing

Lucid Hearing, established in 2009, is a reputable hearing healthcare provider with a strong track record of technological advancement. The company has not only developed cutting-edge hearing solutions for adults but also offers a range of hearing protection products suitable for all age groups. Lucid’s commitment to innovation is evident in its collaboration with the University of Dallas, Texas, in the development of it’s over the counter (OTC) hearing aids.

Lucid’s OTC hearing aids are readily available through various retailers, including popular options such as Best Buy, Walgreens, Walmart, Amazon, and Target. Additionally, Lucid has forged a valuable partnership with Sam’s Club, boasting nearly 500 hearing center locations spread across the country. Much like Costco, these centers provide users with a free comprehensive hearing exam conducted by trained professionals, facilitating the selection of appropriate hearing aid options, whether they require a prescription or OTC solution.

Lucid’s website also offers a free online hearing screening test for added convenience.

Lucid’s range of OTC hearing aids encompasses different models. The premium selection includes the Tala (ITC) at $1299.99 and the Engage rechargeable model, retailing at $799.99 (BTE). The deluxe range comprises the Engage, available at $549.99 (BTE), while the standard range features Enlight and Enrich (ITC) models, starting at $299.99.

lucid otc hearing aids

Among these options, the Tala and Engage rechargeable models have gained particular popularity.

Lucid Hearing Tala

The Tala hearing aid, represents Lucid’s latest OTC offering. Featuring rechargeability and Bluetooth compatibility for Android and Apple systems, it emphasizes ease of use and compatibility with modern devices. This model incorporates directional microphones and an in-ear design reminiscent of modern earbuds, catering to current fashion preferences. The Tala hearing aid integrates a dedicated mobile app for user convenience and offers remote support. Additionally, it comes with a one-year guarantee.

Key Features:

  • Precision Directional Listening System (PDL™) ensures exceptional speech clarity and immersive listening
  • Bluetooth streaming compatible with smartphones
  • Sleek, modern design for discreet use
  • App-controlled adjustments through LucidShape® for a personalized listening experience
  • Rechargeable, long-lasting battery for all-day use
  • Lifetime support through phone, email, and chat with representatives
  • 1-year warranty

Lucid Hearing Engage Rechargeable RIC

engage rechargeable otc hearing aidsThe Engage RIC rechargeable model is equipped with directional microphones and streaming capabilities. With up to 20 hours of battery life and a portable charging case, users can enjoy prolonged usage without worrying about battery drainage. The Lucid Hearing App allows for convenient sound quality adjustments, media streaming, and personalized settings management from a mobile device.

Key Features:

  • Discreet design for inconspicuous use
  • Bluetooth streaming allowing wireless enjoyment of music or podcasts
  • Splashproof, water-resistant technology suitable for everyday use.

All Lucid OTC hearing aids come with a one-year warranty, assuring users of product quality and support.

Sony Hearing Aids

Sony, a well-established Japanese manufacturer renowned for its diverse range of consumer electronics, including films, music, and financial services, has extended its expertise into the space of over the counter (OTC) hearing aids.

Sony now offers a selection of OTC hearing aids, with two prominent models in their lineup.

The Sony CRE-E10, priced at $1,299.99, stands out as a rechargeable OTC option, catering to users who prefer the aesthetics of black wireless earbuds over traditional hearing aids. Developed through a partnership with the leading hearing aid manufacturer WS Audiology, Sony’s CRE-E10 devices excel in various acoustic environments, delivering exceptional performance in both quiet settings and situations where conversations contend with background noise. These hearing aids come with four different ear tip sizes, ensuring a comfortable fit for the regular ear canal.

The CRE-E10’s wireless charging capability provides up to 26 hours of uninterrupted use on a single charge. Furthermore, it features Bluetooth compatibility for iOS devices, offering seamless connectivity for users who prefer a mobile app to manage and fine-tune their hearing aid settings.

sony cre-c10 hearing aidsAlternatively, for users favoring a disposable battery-powered option, Sony offers the CRE-C10 hearing aid, a discreet OTC device designed to fit snugly within the ear canal. These hearing aids are powered by traditional size 10 zinc air batteries, providing users with up to 70 hours of continuous use before requiring battery replacement. The CRE-C10’s functionality is more streamlined compared to some competing models, making it a suitable choice for users who prefer simplicity over an abundance of extra features.

The CRE-C10 is currently available for $999.99. Sony hearing aids can be conveniently purchased from various retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and the Sony website.

HP Hearing PRO

hp pro hearing aidsThe HP Hearing PRO self-fitting over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, priced at $499.00 for a pair with a rechargeable case, offer discreet earbud-style design and advanced features for improved speech understanding in noisy environments. These innovative devices meet FDA requirements, built to medical device standards, and utilize Ear ID™ self-fitting software powered by Nuheara technology.

With the HP Hearing app available for iOS and Android devices, users can personalize their hearing profiles quickly, adjusting for mild to moderate hearing loss within 10-15 minutes. The aids feature Bluetooth streaming for media and phone calls, Active Noise Cancellation for reducing background noise, rechargeable built-in Li-ion batteries, and a Charge Case for convenient on-the-go charging.

Clinically validated by the National Acoustic Laboratories, the HP Hearing PRO showcases a 30% improvement in speech understanding in noisy settings via its directional microphone feature, Focus. This capability allows wearers to swiftly switch microphone settings, optimizing speech clarity in challenging auditory environments.

Key Features:

  • Discreet earbud-style design
  • Ear ID™ self-fitting software for personalized hearing profiles
  • Bluetooth streaming for phone calls and media
  • Active Noise Cancellation for reduced background noise
  • Rechargeable built-in Li-ion batteries with a charging case
  • 30% improvement in speech understanding in noisy environments validated by the National Acoustic Laboratories

Jabra Hearing Aids

GN was the first of the major hearing aid manufacturers to announce that they were planning an OTC hearing aid, under their popular consumer audio brand – Jabra.

Before launching through major retailers at the end of 2022, they company initially launched the Jabra Enhance Plus in a limited release through professional clinics within GN ReSound’s independent provider network.

Jabra Enhance Plus

With four built-in microphones and powerful speakers, these buds focus on enhancing your listening experience in various situations, from conversations to calls and music. They provide clearer sound, adaptive listening modes, and comfortable wear with two styles of smooth silicon EarGels available in three sizes. These earbuds offer up to 12 hours of use on a single charge, extendable up to 35 hours with the compact charging case. Featuring an IP52 rating for durability against water and dust, they provide three Listen Modes (Adaptive, Focus, and Surround) and are compatible with the Jabra Enhance app for personalized programming and setup assistance from Jabra Experts for hearing aid setup/troubleshooting. However, it’s important to note that these earbuds are compatible only with iPhones and not Android devices.

The Jabra Enhnace Plus earbuds initially retailed for $799/pair, but currently offered at $499/pair through most retailers.

Jabra Enhance Select 50R

jabra enhance 50r The Jabra Enhance Select 50R are discreet RIC, custom-programmable hearing aids designed for optimal comfort and all-day wear. These lightweight aids incorporate advanced microphones and Bluetooth streaming for calls and music from both Apple and Android devices. Offering a 3-year warranty with loss and damage coverage, these aids can be remotely adjusted by licensed professionals, ensuring personalized care without leaving your home. The accompanying Jabra Enhance Select app allows easy control and scheduling of remote adjustments, while the long-lasting rechargeable battery ensures up to 24 hours of use on a single charge. With medical-grade technology enhancing speech clarity and noise cancellation, these aids prioritize comfort, aesthetics, and quality of sound.

The devices come pre-programmed, but can be customized by Jabra’s licensed professionals. They currently retail for $1,195/pair.

Key Features:

  • Custom-programmable hearing aids with remote adjustment capability
  • Bluetooth streaming for calls and music from Apple and Android devices
  • Lightweight and nearly invisible design for all-day comfort
  • Dedicated Audiology Team support for personalized care and follow-up
  • Control and schedule adjustments through the Jabra Enhance Select app
  • Long-lasting rechargeable battery offering up to 24 hours of use
  • 3-year warranty with loss and damage coverage (subject to deductible) for cost-effective and comprehensive care.

Jabra devices can be purchased through major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and others. Additionally, after GN’s acquisition of Lively, the online hearing care provider, the company also offers additional models direct to consumer on the Jabra Enhance website.

Soundwave Sontro Hearing Aids

sontro ai hearing aidsThe Sontro Self-Fitting OTC Hearing Aids by Soundwave Hearing offer personalized fitting through AI technology without preset settings. They conduct a 3-minute in situ hearing test via the otoTune® app for tailored programming. Featuring Automatic Mode Selection, Adaptive Directionality, these Bluetooth-enabled aids include noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and flexible adjustments.

Priced at $749 per set, they cater to mild to moderate hearing impairment, emphasizing accessibility without professional intervention.

Key Features:

  • Personalized Self-Fit: Utilizes groundbreaking AI technology to tailor devices based on individual hearing requirements, avoiding predetermined settings.
  • Customization Process: Conducts a 3-minute in situ hearing test using the otoTune® app to create tailored programming, ensuring a personalized fit.
  • State-of-the-Art Customization: Offers Automatic Mode Selection for adaptive sound optimization and Adaptive Directionality to enhance speech clarity in noisy environments.
  • Aural Rehabilitation: Collaboration with Amptify DTx to include aural rehabilitation, featuring hearing health coaching, engaging listening games, and an interactive curriculum.

Sontro hearing aids are available through the company’s website, major retailers like Amazon, and also through private hearing clinics.

Eargo Hearing Aids

Eargo, a US-based hearing aid manufacturer founded in 2010, specializes in delivering innovative, comfortable, and nearly invisible hearing solutions. Their product range is designed for user convenience, featuring attributes such as smartphone app control and remote support from hearing professionals. These hearing aids have obtained FDA approval, and positive customer reviews emphasize their 45-day trial period, user-friendly smartphone app, comfortable fit, straightforward online purchasing with assistance from Eargo specialists, and the availability of a non-working sample for assessing fit and feel before committing to a purchase.

The Eargo app facilitates self-programming and remote adjustments by the Eargo care team, offering volume control through the app or via tapping your ears. Due to its small size, Eargo does not support Bluetooth streaming for music and phone calls.

Eargo currently has 3 OTC hearing aid models to cater to diverse user needs:

eargo 7Eargo 7

The newest addition to Eargo’s over-the-counter (OTC) self-fitting hearing aids, brings forth Sound Adjust+ featuring Clarity Mode, designed to heighten clarity in noisy environments, delivering a more organic hearing encounter. Notable attributes of the Eargo 7 encompass its advanced Sound Adjust+ technology, capable of automatically emphasizing speech or diminishing noise for comfort, particularly beneficial in loud surroundings. Furthermore, the device boasts an IPX7 water-resistance rating, making it suitable for use during workouts or in rainy weather, and its rechargeable batteries provide up to 16 hours of continuous usage, fully charging within six hours.

Eargo 6: Retaining a similar physical design, the Eargo 6 offers enhancements in internal technology for improved audio processing, noise reduction, and filtering, enhancing sound clarity in diverse environments. Users can fine-tune their sound experience with the Sound Match function. The Eargo 6 currently retails for $2,250.

Eargo 5: With an almost invisible design, the Eargo 5 offers app control for settings, including noise reduction and environmental sound matching. It uses magnets for charging, enhancing charging efficiency. Users can enjoy a comfortable fit and improved amplification with the two sizes of closed petal buds. The Eargo 5 currently retails for $1,650.

eargo 5

Eargo hearing aids are accessible for purchase through the Eargo website and major retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, among others. The Eargo 5 and Eargo 6 models feature a one-year warranty, while the Eargo 7 comes with a standard two-year warranty.

Lexie Hearing

Lexie Hearing, developed by the South African-based hearX Group, known for its expertise in audiological device manufacturing, stands out as one of the more user-friendly OTC hearing solutions.

Lexie offers three hearing aid models: Lexie Lumen, Lexie B1 and Lexie B2 ‘powered by Bose’ hearing technology resulting from a collaboration with Bose.

Lexie Lumen

The Lexie Lumen represents the only available slim tube, behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aid from Lexie. It operates using replaceable size 312 batteries, offering discretion and comfort with color choices including gray, bronze, metallic black, beige, and silver. These devices automatically adapt to users’ hearing needs and are adjustable through the Lexie app, allowing volume adjustments, six hearing environment settings, and directional hearing.

Style: Slim tube, behind-the-ear (BTE)
Battery: Powered by replaceable size 312 batteries

  • Automatic adjustment via Lexie app
  • Six hearing environment settings
  • Sweatproof technology

Price: $799 for a pair or $42 monthly for 24 months with a $149 down payment

Lexie B1 Powered by Bose

bose lexie b1 hearing aidsThe Lexie B1 offers a receiver-in-canal (RIC) style, using replaceable size 312 batteries, and is available in gray. This model allows for adjustable volume, treble, and bass settings, along with listening environment adjustments and directional listening settings. Priced at $849 for a pair or $47 per month for 24 months with a $199 down payment. While equipped with Bluetooth and connected to the Lexie app, it does not support music streaming or call-taking features.

Style: Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
Battery: Powered by replaceable size 312 batteries

  • Adjustable volume, treble, and bass settings
  • Directional listening adjustments

Price: $849 for a pair or $47 monthly for 24 months with a $199 down payment
Note: Does not support music streaming or call-taking features

Lexie B2 Powered by Bose

lexie b2 hearing aidsThe Lexie B2 stands as the model with the most advanced features among the Lexie hearing aids. Boasting rechargeability, directional microphones, and 12 frequency channels, it prioritizes sound precision. Sporting a sleek Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) design in an elegant gray, it ensures discreetness and enhanced sound clarity. Although lacking streaming capabilities, Lexie hearing aids work seamlessly with both Android and Apple systems, utilizing a dedicated app. This app facilitates a hearing test using the aids, followed by personalized programming based on the results. Users can fine-tune and adjust settings through the app, which also offers valuable resources to aid in the setup process.

Style: Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
Battery: Fully rechargeable, 18-hour all-day battery life

  • Rechargeable battery with 3-hour charge time
  • iOS-compatible for phone calls
  • Self-tuning via Lexie app

Price: $999 for a pair or $49 monthly for 24 months with a $249 down payment
Note: Offers professional-quality customization through the app, lightweight, and discreet usage.

Lexie Hearing offers remote support on device purchases, allowing users to conveniently chat with a ‘hearing expert’ for fine-tuning, troubleshooting, or inquiries about their hearing aids.

Lexie hearing aids are available at Best Buy, Walmart, and the Lexie website, which even offers a free hearing screening for interested users.

Go Hearing

Go Hearing, developed by the hearX Group, the same group responsible for Lexie hearing aids, offers three options ranging from basic to advanced, each linked with a corresponding price increase. They offer 2 In-The-Ear (ITE) models and 1 Behind The Ear (BTE) model.

Go Lite and Go Prime In-Ear Hearing Aids:

The Go Lite and Go Prime hearing aids, priced at $199 and $299 per pair, respectively, are basic rechargeable, in-the-ear (ITE) OTC devices designed for immediate use. Notably, they do not include a hearing test, so they’re not personalized for specific hearing needs. Go Lite is discreet, suitable for small groups or TV watching, allowing volume adjustment via a tool. In contrast, Go Prime offers preset programs, a volume-setting button, noise reduction, and feedback cancellation. Neither model is wireless or has an app, lacking advanced features present in their Lexie counterparts. Both are rechargeable and arrive pre-assembled, with a charging case capable of recharging the aids up to six times for added convenience.

Go Lite

  • Small, discreet, in-the-ear hearing aids
  • Analog hearing aids
  • Adjustable volume
  • Portable charging case with magnetic contact charging
  • Rechargeable – up to 30 hours of use per charge
  • 1-year warranty

Go Prime

  • Small, discreet, in-the-ear hearing aids
  • Digital hearing aids
  • Adjustable volume
  • Portable charging case with magnetic contact charging
  • Rechargeable – up to 30 hours of use per charge
  • 1-year warranty
  • 6 channels and 12 bands
  • 3 preset programs
  • Noise reduction
  • Feedback cancellation
  • Memory recall function

Go Ultra

The Go Ultra OTC hearing aids, priced at $499, offer advanced digital sound processing and Bluetooth streaming for hands-free calls and music in a BTE form factor.

  • go ultra bteBluetooth Streaming: Enjoy hands-free phone calls and stream music directly through your hearing aids.
  • Preset Programs: Customize your hearing experience with four preset programs tailored to various listening environments.
  • Digital Sound Processing: Advanced audio features enhance sound quality for better hearing wherever you go.
  • Rechargeability: Conveniently recharge your devices for up to 20 hours of use with a portable charging case.
  • Memory Recall: Program and volume memory function remembers your preferred settings for ease of use.

The Go Lite, Prime and Ultra models can be purchased at Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon, making them easily accessible to prospective users. Additionally, managed care plans, like the United Healthcare Hearing program, have added models like the Go Ultra, to their offering.

Sennheiser Hearing Aids

Sennheiser presents two distinct models of Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids: the All Day Clear and All Day Clear Slim. Both models boast sleek, lightweight designs crafted for day-long comfort and employ directional microphones to capture desired sounds. Equipped with rechargeable batteries lasting up to 16 hours, these aids offer in-the-moment controls through the hearing aid push button and All-Day Clear app, along with balance adjustments for streaming audio and a dedicated sound mode for live music. Notably, both models have open-fit designs, allowing natural sound while delivering processed sound.

Key Features:

  • All-Day Comfort: Sleek, lightweight designs for prolonged wear.
  • Directional Microphones: Target specific sounds efficiently.
  • Rechargeable Battery: Provides up to 16 hours of continuous usage.
  • In-the-Moment Controls: Access through the hearing aid push button and All-Day Clear app.
  • Equalizer Settings: Tailor sound experience to individual preferences.
  • Hands-Free Calls and Music Streaming: Seamless connectivity for convenience.

all day clear sennheiser hearing aids

All Day Clear and All Day Clear Slim

Both models offer an open-fit design for natural sound transmission and seamless connectivity for hands-free calls and music streaming. They feature a rechargeable battery, making them suitable for all-day wear. With advanced sound processing, these aids cater to mild to moderate hearing loss, automatically adapting to changing environments for enhanced speech or music. The seamless Bluetooth connectivity facilitates effortless streaming and hands-free calls.

The devices provide an optional In-Clinic Care Package for personalized support from licensed hearing care professionals. The All-Day Clear app includes details on finding a hearing care professional to assist in customizing your devices.

The latest Sennheiser hearing aids can be purchased through the company website, as well as major retailers like Best Buy and are also now available through the UHC hearing program.

What OTC is Best for You?

In this article, we’ve highlighted the array of choices available to consumers seeking OTC hearing aids. Choosing the right device depends on your individual needs, and the price range for OTC hearing aids can vary widely (from under $200, to over $2000/pair). Therefore, conducting research tailored to your individual situation is essential. Although not mandatory, undergoing a professional examination before purchasing an OTC device is advisable, offering reassurance that an OTC aid suits your requirements.

When evaluating OTC devices, several factors merit consideration: the level of customization, preferred aid configuration, pricing, available payment options, customer support availability, and the terms and conditions of the trial period. These considerations empower users to make well-informed decisions that meet their specific hearing needs and preferences.

Additionally, while this overview doesn’t encompass all current OTC options, it provides a glimpse of the expanding choices available to consumers. The landscape of OTC devices is expected to evolve further in 2024, with numerous new entries anticipated, indicating a growing market offering even more diverse options for individuals seeking hearing aids.

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About the Author

nausheenNausheen Dawood is an experienced Audiologist and Project Manager with a professional background including primary health care, corporate social investment, and business development. Proficient in the development of academic courses, training, and lecturing, with a focus on clinical student training and supervision. Adept in freelance copywriting, particularly in audiology and health-related topics. Holds a Masters degree in Audiology (Cum Laude), with a strong foundation in clinical research, project development, and strategic planning, complemented by technical training. Specializes in content development and training tailored to diverse audiences. Demonstrates a long-term commitment to research and development, including the implementation of randomized controlled trials, projects, and clinical examinations. Known for establishing robust networks and cultivating valuable stakeholder relationships.

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