Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids and professionally fit hearing aids are both options for people with hearing loss, but there are some key differences between the two.
OTC hearing aids are devices that can be purchased and used without the need for a prescription or professional fitting. They are typically less expensive than professionally fit hearing aids and can be purchased at drugstores, online retailers, or other retail outlets. OTC hearing aids are often smaller and less visible than professionally fit hearing aids.
Professionally fit hearing aids, on the other hand, are devices that are prescribed and fitted by a hearing healthcare professional. These devices are custom-made to fit the user’s specific hearing loss and are typically more expensive than OTC hearing aids. They are also more powerful and feature advanced technology, such as noise reduction, speech enhancement, and wireless connectivity.
Cost of Professional vs OTC Hearing Aids
The cost of hearing aids can vary widely depending on the type of device, the technology it uses, and the provider from which it is purchased.
The most basic, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids can be purchased for around $200 to $500 per device, while more advanced, professionally fit hearing aids can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per device.
The cost of hearing aids can also vary depending on the technology it uses. For example, hearing aids that use Bluetooth technology to connect to other devices, such as smartphones, can be more expensive than hearing aids without this feature. Some hearing aids also have additional features such as noise reduction and speech enhancement, which can also increase the cost.
It’s also important to note that hearing aids are not covered by most insurance plans, so the cost of hearing aids will be the responsibility of the consumer. Some states have laws that require insurance companies to cover hearing aids for children, and some insurance plans do cover hearing aids for adults, but this is not the norm.
This is the exact reason why people choose OTC aids instead of professional fit. If you insurance covers the aids most would pick professional fit devices.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a hearing healthcare professional and shop around to compare prices and features before making a decision on which hearing aid to purchase. I recommend checking prices at ZipHearing as you can have a quote on all devices from all manufacturers.
Please don’t forget that hearing aids are not a one-time purchase, they need to be serviced and maintained, so the cost of follow-up care and batteries should also be taken into consideration. I would recommend a rechargeable device.
Performance of the devices
In terms of performance, professionally fit hearing aids are typically considered more effective than OTC hearing aids, as they are tailored to the individual’s specific hearing loss and are therefore more likely to provide better sound quality and improved speech understanding.
A hearing healthcare professional will also provide support, advice, and follow-up care to ensure the user is getting the most out of the hearing aid, and that any issues are addressed in a timely manner. If you recently moved and need to find a new audiologist, I recommend you use the ZipHearing website who can pair you with a local audiologist.
Common Issues with Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are complex devices that can experience a variety of problems. Some common issues that people may experience with their hearing aids include:
- Feedback: A whistling or squealing noise occurs when the hearing aid’s microphone picks up sound from the speaker. A poor fit or a blocked microphone can cause this. Check out our article on how to stop your hearing aid from whistling.
- Dead batteries: Hearing aids require regular battery replacement, and a dead battery can cause the device to stop working.
- Moisture damage: Hearing aids are sensitive to moisture, and exposure to water or sweat can damage the device. See what to do if your hearing aids get wet.
- Difficulty adjusting volume or settings: Some people may have trouble adjusting the volume or settings on their hearing aids, which can make it difficult to hear properly.
- Background noise reduction: Hearing aids are designed to reduce background noise, but some people may find that background noise is still too loud or distracting. See our guide for the best hearing aids in background noise.
- Poor sound quality: Some people may experience poor sound quality from their hearing aids, which can make it difficult to hear speech or understand conversations.
- Earwax blockage: Earwax can build up and block the sound from entering the ear canal, reducing the effectiveness of the hearing aid. THIS IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH ALL AIDS. Get help here.
If you get professional fit hearing aids from an audiologist. They will be there to help you solve whatever issue or problem you have.
If you get OTC devices, you can contact the company directly with questions. The OTC aids that we found to have the best customer service is Lexie Hearing aids.
There are several options for customer service support for Lexie hearing aids:
- Phone support: Customers can call Bose customer service at 1-800-499-1336 to speak with a customer service representative or to return their hearing aids if unhappy.
- Email support: Customers can email Bose customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- Online support: Lexie’s website has great videos and tutorials on it. Check out their support section.
- Live Chat: Bose also offers a live chat service on their website. Customers can chat with a customer service representative in real time for assistance.
It’s always a good idea to check the Lexie website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information on customer service options for Lexie hearing aids.
In summary, OTC hearing aids are a more affordable and convenient option for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, while professionally fit hearing aids are a better option for people with more severe hearing loss, as they are custom-made to fit the individual’s needs and are typically more effective in improving hearing. It’s always a good idea to consult with a hearing professional to determine which type of hearing aid is the best option for you.