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Updated onJul. 01, 2022

Best Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

People often associate hearing loss with older age, but did you know that about 15 percent of people over the age of 18 in the United States experience some degree of hearing loss?

If you want a bit of help amplifying sounds around you, you can purchase non-prescription hearing-aid devices online. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are more than just sound amplifiers—they’re prescription-quality hearing aids that address mild to moderate hearing loss. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has submitted a proposal that would allow you to purchase OTC hearing aids online without an audiologist exam. These high-quality hearing aids would be even more accessible once the proposal is approved. 

Best Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Aging in Place researched several brands to find the best OTC hearing aid devices. Here are six of the best, according to our editors:

How We Made Our Picks

We determined our top picks based on the following criteria:

  • Price
  • Audiologist care
  • Warranty
  • Customer service
  • Features such as Bluetooth capability and rechargeable batteries
  • Comfort and fit
  • Reliability
  • Cost: $1,195 per pair for Lively 2 Lite (battery powered) or $1,595 per pair for Lively 2 Plus (rechargeable) hearing aids
  • Type of hearing aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable or battery-powered options available
  • Telecoil: No
  • Warranty/trial period: 100-day risk-free trial and 3-year warranty
  • Financing: Yes
Pros
  • Cheaper in price than other brands

  • Monthly financing available

  • Three years of follow-up care

  • 100-day risk-free trial

  • Three-year warranty with loss-and-damage protection

  • Adjustments with audiologists via Lively’s app

  • No audiogram needed

  • Quick, fast, and free hearing test

  • Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids

  • Unlimited video chats with hearing specialists

Cons
  • Requires smartphone or tablet

  • Only provides receiver-in-canal (RIC) models

  • Won’t work for severe or profound hearing loss

  • Credit applications required to purchase

With Lively, there’s no need for a time-consuming, expensive in-person consultation. You can get your hands on a prescription-quality device with just a few clicks. Lively offers a free online hearing test that you can do in the comfort of your own home. An audiologist will review your results to verify whether a set of OTC hearing aids is the right solution for you.

The brand also provides ongoing customer service to help you get the most out of your new hearing aid device. So, while seeing an audiologist isn’t necessary, the company makes sure you can communicate with one remotely as needed—you’ll get three years of follow-up care, a comprehensive warranty, and damage protection when you purchase the bundle.

Lively’s bundle includes a pair of rechargeable Bluetooth hearing aids programmed to fit your needs. If you want a slightly more affordable option, you can also go with the battery-powered bundle. The hearing aids are nearly invisible thanks to their sleek, behind-the-ear design.

And you know you’re getting a top-quality OTC product because the hearing aids are made by big-name hearing aid manufacturer ReSound. They’re also approved by the FDA, not just registered or listed.

See our full Lively Hearing Aid Review.

  • Cost: $2,950
  • Type of hearing aid: Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Telecoil: No
  • Warranty/trial period: Two-year warranty and a 45-day return window
  • Financing: Yes
Pros
  • Cheaper price than many hearing aid models

  • Most Eargo models have remote hearing aid adjustments

  • Free hearing aid test

  • Active military members and veterans get significant discount

  • Discreet, comfortable, and nearly invisible design

  • Eargo sends you non working models to try on for free before you purchase

Cons
  • No Bluetooth

  • Won’t help hearing loss beyond mild-to-moderate

  • Won’t help tinnitus

  • Needs lots of cleaning

Eargo’s professional-quality hearing aid devices are completely invisible thanks to their in-canal design. The FDA classifies the Eargo 5 devices as Class II medical devices. The rechargeable OTC hearing aids also provide high-quality, personalized sound-matching technology. Just launch the app to get started—no in-person visit required.

The brand doesn’t leave you hanging after purchase, either. You’ll have access to lifetime support via phone or chat through the app.

The handy carrying case protects your hearing aids and keeps them fully charged. A single charge will power your hearing for up to 16 hours.

Remember that the Eargo 5 allows you to personalize and program the device yourself, which some people might not be comfortable doing. If you’re not tech-savvy, remote support is available for help.

See our full Eargo Hearing Aid Review.

  • Cost: $799 up-front or $49/month for a subscription
  • Type of hearing aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Battery: Size 312 zinc air hearing aid batteries
  • Telecoil: Yes
  • Warranty/trial period: One-year manufacturer’s warranty, 45-day trial
  • Financing: No, but there is a subscription option for those who can’t afford to pay upfront
Pros
  • Great smartphone app

  • Five colors to choose from

  • Affordable compared to other hearing aids

  • Monthly payments available

  • 45-day trial with one-year warranty

Cons
  • No rechargeable battery options

  • Only behind-the-ear models

  • Lacks 24/7 customer support

Although OTC hearing aid devices tend to be cheaper than prescription models, pricing is still pretty steep across the board. But Lexie’s Lumen offers some of the best inexpensive over-the-counter hearing aids. They also boast a similar set of features when compared with the competition.

After taking a virtual hearing test using the brand’s app, you’ll be able to purchase a set of Lumen hearing aids. You can choose between purchasing a subscription, which includes a hearing aid upgrade every two years, or buying them outright.

You can control the battery-powered devices using the iOS or Android app—which gets positive reviews from consumers who say it’s easy to use and intuitive.

The hearing aids also have telecoils. Telecoil technology helps to better funnel sound in certain situations where your hearing aid might not pick it up—like during phone conversations, for instance. A lot of new hearing aid models skip telecoil tech because including it means sacrificing compactness. Instead, they use Bluetooth, which is convenient since most people nowadays carry Bluetooth-compatible smartphones. But some public venues use telecoil loop systems to broadcast sounds to those wearing hearing aids, which Bluetooth can’t pick up on.

See our full Lexie Hearing Aids Review.

  • Cost: $599 for a single hearing aid, $1,349 for a pair with accessories
  • Type of hearing aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Telecoil: No
  • Warranty/trial period: 90-day warranty and 45-day risk-free trial
  • Financing: Yes
Pros
  • 45-day risk-free trial

  • Cheaper than most hearing aid models

  • On-staff audiologist

  • 90-day warranty

  • Medical-grade, FDA-approved hearing aids

  • Free shipping and 0% financing

Cons
  • No customization or adjustments available

  • One-size-fits-most

  • Won’t work well for severe or profound hearing loss

These rechargeable hearing aids provide high-quality audio and noise control for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The behind-the-ear devices are water-resistant and come with a handy charging case, which holds up to three full charges. And a single charge will keep the devices powered for up to 24 hours.

These stripped-down hearing aids have simple controls, making them perfect for people who prefer not to use apps. If you’re looking for Bluetooth connectivity and customizable app-controlled settings, these aren’t the best hearing aids for you. But fewer bells and whistles mean a more affordable price tag.

MDHearing also provides customers with lifetime support.

Reviewers also say that the VOLT+ hearing aids are an excellent pick for people with glasses because they fit so snuggly.

One downside is the limited warranty period. While the company says they’ll replace or repair a faulty unit for free, the warranty only covers the device for 90 days.

See our full MDHearingAid Review.

  • Cost: $89 to $249 per pair
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Telecoil: No
  • Warranty/trial period: 15-day warranty, 45-day money-back guarantee, lifetime protection for $4 per month
  • Financing: No
Pros
  • Some of the most affordable hearing aids on the market

  • Small, discreet design

  • Rechargeable batteries

  • Wireless charging

Cons
  • No customization or hearing adjustments

  • No Bluetooth

  • Doesn’t reduce background noise

  • No medical-grade models

If you want an affordable hearing aid that comes with an amazing protection plan, Audien’s devices are for you. Audien offers four hearing aid models with long-lasting batteries and discreet, in-the-canal builds.

Not only are Audien’s hearing aids the cheapest we’ve found on the market, but the lifetime protection plan covers everything from loss to device damage. Even better, it only costs $4 per month.

See our full Audien Hearing Aid Review.

  • Cost: $699 per ear or $49 per ear, per month for the membership
  • Type of hearing aid: Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to severe
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Available with the Bluetooth remote add-on only
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Telecoil: No
  • Warranty/trial period: One-year warranty and 45-day trial period
  • Financing: Yes
Pros
  • Great ratings by consumers

  • 45-day free trial

  • Rechargeable batteries

  • Easy buying with membership available

  • Bluetooth features

Cons
  • Accessories not covered in warranty

  • No in-person options

  • Repairs could take a while

The Audicus Clara hearing aid device’s impressive battery life—up to a week—isn’t its only appealing feature. Built-in programs allow you to quickly adjust device settings depending on your environment.

You can also choose between buying the hearing aids up-front or signing up for a monthly membership. Membership perks include accessories, tech upgrade every 18 months, free cleaning, and damage and loss protection. If you still want to own your hearing aids but also desire the benefits that come with a membership, there’s an option to purchase care or protect subscriptions with your Clara hearing aids.

The device isn’t Bluetooth-enabled, but you can connect your hearing aids to any Bluetooth-compatible device with the Bluetooth remote add-on.

See our full Audicus Hearing Aid Review.

Best Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: Comparison Chart

The Lively Bundle
Cost$1,195-$1,595
Type of Hearing aidBTE
Type of hearing loss Mild to moderate
BluetoothYes
BatteryRechargeable or battery-powered
TelecoilNo
Warranty3 years
Trial period 100 days
FinancingYes
MDHearingAid VOLT+
Cost$599-$1,349
Type of Hearing aidBTE
Type of hearing loss Mild to moderate
BluetoothNo
BatteryRechargeable
TelecoilNo
Warranty90 days
Trial period 45 Days
FinancingYes
Eargo 5
Cost$2,950
Type of Hearing aidCIC
Type of hearing loss Mild to moderate
BluetoothYes
BatteryRechargeable
TelecoilNo
Warranty2 year
Trial period 45 Days
FinancingYes
Lexie Lumen
Cost$799 or $49/month for a subscription
Type of Hearing aidBTE
Type of hearing loss
BluetoothYes
BatterySize 312 zinc air hearing aid batteries
TelecoilYes
Warranty1 year
Trial period 45 Days
FinancingNo
Audien Atom
Cost$89 to $249 per pair
Type of Hearing aidITC
Type of hearing loss Mild to moderate
BluetoothNo
BatteryRechargeable
TelecoilNo
Warranty15 days without lifetime protection plan
Trial period 45 Days
FinancingNo
Audicus Clara
Cost$699 per ear or $49 per month for a membership
Type of Hearing aidRIC
Type of hearing loss Mild to severe
BluetoothWith Bluetooth remote add-on only
BatteryRechargeable
TelecoilNo
Warranty1 year
Trial period 45 Days
FinancingYes

What Are Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

A 2017 law allowed for the over-the-counter (OTC) sale of hearing aid devices for mild to moderate hearing loss. The move was intended to make it easier for the average consumer to access hearing aid technology—and make it more affordable.

The FDA’s proposed rule for OTC hearing aids means that brands can market and sell medical-grade devices directly to you—without the need for expensive visits to an audiologist.

Previously, you couldn’t buy a medical-strength hearing aid without a doctor’s prescription. But you could buy something called a personal sound amplification device (PSAP), which the FDA doesn’t regulate. They help amplify sound but aren’t suitable for people with hearing loss

The regulatory category of OTC hearing aids will ensure that hearing aids sold directly to you, the consumer, are safe and effective. That’s good news for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, there are plenty of companies out there willing to misrepresent their products for financial gain.

They may sell devices that aren’t up to par and that, in some cases, can worsen hearing loss. If a company says their product is FDA-registered or listed, take that statement with a grain of salt. It’s easy to register a product with the FDA, but getting one approved is a whole other story.

The proposed FDA rule will make shopping for hearing aids easier by improving access. It will also make it easier for consumers to differentiate between actual hearing aids and PSAPs.

And while we did our best to pick out devices from reputable brands with overall very positive reviews, Janice S. Lintz, a hearing access consultant who was cited in the FDA’s new proposed OTC rule, pointed out that, until there’s testing, there’s actually no way to tell which device is the best.

You can, however, take a look at the FDA’s draft guidance document, which includes potential requirements that may make a device subject to FDA regulation.

Keep in mind that these rules won’t go into effect right away, and companies can’t technically sell OTC hearing aid devices until the rules are enforced.

Pros and Cons of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

OTC hearing aids have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros
  • They’re less expensive. For the most part, OTC hearing aids are less costly than prescription ones. You also don’t have to pay for an in-person exam or consult.

  • They’re convenient. When you buy OTC hearing aids, you’re able to skip the visit to the audiologist, which is great if you’re busy and pressed for time.

  • They’re effective. Many OTC hearing aids work just as well as prescription models.

Cons
  • OTC hearing aids offer fewer options for customization. Because an audiologist won’t fine-tune the settings for your OTC hearing aid, it may not be able to meet all your needs.

  • They’re not suitable for severe hearing loss. Most OTC devices won’t help people with severe forms of hearing loss.

  • Skipping an in-person exam isn’t always a good idea. Some forms of hearing loss have underlying causes that may require medical treatment that an OTC hearing device can’t provide.

  • The OTC hearing aid market is saturated. There are a lot of subpar devices out there misrepresenting themselves as medical-grade hearing aids.

Who Should Use Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, OTC hearing aids are suitable for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

You shouldn’t use an OTC hearing aid if:

  • You’re under 18.
  • You have severe hearing loss.
  • You have other symptoms that may point to an underlying condition.

Hearing Tests and Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

You don’t need to get an in-person hearing test to purchase an OTC hearing aid. However, reputable companies will require you to either take an online hearing test or submit hearing test results before you can buy a device.

You can complete most online hearing tests within 10 minutes or less. They’ll tell you whether you have any hearing loss at all and how severe it is.

What You Need to Know Before Buying an Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid

Shauna Hatcher, who holds a Masters of Science in Public Health and is part of the medical review board for the National Wellness and Public Health Network, says the most important considerations when buying an OTC hearing aid include:

  • A warranty: Look for products that come with at least a one-year warranty. Ideally, brands will also include loss, damage, and repair coverage with your purchase.
  • A trial period: “Most manufacturers provide at least a 30-day trial period,” according to Hatcher. However, she warns that some brands have nonrefundable fees that you may still have to pay even if you decide to return the device.
  • Modifications: Ask whether repairs and modifications are included in the price. “You may wind up paying more for a hearing aid that includes continuing care, but the peace of mind is frequently worth it,” said Hatcher.

You don’t need to get an in-person hearing test to purchase an OTC hearing aid. However, reputable companies will require you to either take an online hearing test or submit hearing test results before you can buy a device.

You can complete most online hearing tests within 10 minutes or less. They’ll tell you whether you have any hearing loss at all and how severe it is.

How Much Do Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Cost?

OTC hearing aid prices vary significantly, but you can expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 for a single hearing aid.

In contrast, prescription hearing aids pricing can go as high as $6,000—and that’s not including the cost of the hearing test or consultation.

How Can I Save Money on Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

As the FDA ruling comes into effect, increased competition in the hearing aid market will likely translate to more affordable prices for consumers.

But even less expensive OTC hearing aids cost a significant chunk of change. And most insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid included, offer no coverage for OTC hearing aids.

Here are some tips for saving money when buying OTC hearing aids:

  • Double-check with your insurance. Some providers may offer coverage, but always check with them before making a purchase.
  • Try hearing aid banks. These programs may offer hearing aid loans or low-cost reconditioned hearing aids to people unable to afford them.
  • Opt for a single device. If a hearing test detects hearing loss in only one ear, there’s no need to purchase a bundle. Buying a single hearing aid allows you to save a significant amount of money.
  • Go with a membership. Some brands, like Lexie and Audicus, offer membership programs that essentially allow you to loan out a hearing aid device. These subscriptions also come with perks like free repairs or upgrades, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Use your pre-tax account. Some devices may be eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

How to Find the Best-Fitting Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid

Unlike a custom-fitted prescription hearing aid, there’s likely to be some trial and error with an over-the-counter device.

A hearing aid should fit snugly so that it doesn’t move around, but it should ultimately be barely noticeable.

To ensure you get the best fitting device, choose hearing aids that come with a free trial period. And if the fit isn’t right, you can return the devices for a full refund.

Other Important Factors to Consider

There are a few other things to take into consideration when buying an OTC hearing aid:

  • Battery: What kind of battery life are you looking for? If you’ll be wearing the OTC hearing aids all day, opt for devices with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that hold a charge for up to 24 hours. If you don’t want to depend on a charger, opt for regular batteries.
  • Bluetooth features: For superior control and customization, an app-controlled, Bluetooth hearing aid might be the right fit for you. Bluetooth is a good choice if you love to stream content such as TV podcasts and music from Spotify, for example.
  • Type of hearing aid: Hearing aids come in two broad categories: behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE). Most OTC hearing aids are BTE. But some brands offer more discreet ITE models. The style you choose depends on features that are most important to you (for example, very small ITE hearing aid models don’t usually feature telecoil technology) and what you find comfortable.

Why Trust Our Expert Review?

Our experts independently research and recommend products we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent collectively more than 5,000 hours conducting in-depth research on hearing aids. Throughout this process, we did the following:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Consulted with independent audiologists
  • Consulted with geriatric care experts
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed hundreds of hearing aid users
  • Tested various models of hearing aids
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read thousands of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot

See our full Hearing Aids Ratings Methodology.

Bottom Line

With so many OTC hearing aid devices on the market today, shopping for one can be a confusing experience. But several brands offer high-quality non-prescription hearing aids that you can easily buy online.

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line hearing aid manufactured by a reputable company in the hearing aid space, go with Lively’s Hearing Aid Bundle. However, if you’re concerned about price, consider the Lexie Lumen.

Eargo is a good choice for people wanting something discreet, but if you’re more interested in protecting your devices, Audien offers a lifetime protection plan for $4 per month.

And for those looking for an uncomplicated device that’s simple and easy-to-use, MDHearingAid’s VOLT+ is a solid no-frills option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. However, the FDA recommends getting a hearing test. Additionally, people under 18 years of age can’t buy a hearing aid without first getting a hearing test.

WRITTEN BY

Steph Coelho is a health writer and editor based in Montreal, Canada, who has a passion for health and wellness and an intimate knowledge of living with a chronic illness. She has bylines with Healthline, Everyday Health, and Medical News Today. You can find her on Twitter.