Q and A: Buying Hearing Aids Without a Prescription
Have you seen the good news? Hearing aids are now available over the counter (OTC)—no doctor’s visit or prescription needed!
Easier access and lower costs mean more people can get the devices they need. Recent stats show only 20% of those who could benefit from hearing aids use them. If you or a loved one are part of the other 80%, this is the perfect opportunity to turn up the volume on everyday life.
Q: How do I know if I need a hearing aid?
They’re best for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. You might fall into that category if:
Voices sound muffled
You can’t make out words in noisy places or on the phone
You’re always asking people to repeat themselves or talk louder
Others complain about the loud volume on your TV or radio
Q: Where can I buy one?
Find OTC hearing aids online, in pharmacies, and through retailers such as Best Buy, Walgreens, and CVS.
Q: How much do OTC devices cost?
Prices vary widely. Some simple, off-the-shelf models may go for $200 to $800 per pair. Those with complex features and on-call assistance might cost $1,500 to $3,000. (While that’s still a lot of money, they’re much more affordable than the $12,000 price tag for some premium prescription devices.)
Q: What if I have problems with my OTC hearing aids?
Check the package or consult the company for information about warranties, repairs, and maintenance. Most will allow a 30- to 60-day trial period, during which your hearing aids can be returned for a refund.
Q: When should I see a healthcare provider?
Just like with other conditions, there are times OTC options aren’t the right fit for your symptoms. See a hearing health professional—such as an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat specialist—if you have:
Severe or suddenly worsening hearing loss
Ear pain or discomfort
Differences in hearing between your ears
Fluid, pus, or blood draining from your ear
Any other concerning symptom, including pain from an OTC device
Also, keep in mind that OTC hearing aids are just for grown-ups. Children with hearing problems should see a pediatrician or hearing specialist.