Do you get nervous speaking in groups? Maybe you try to avoid phone calls for fear of embarrassing yourself?

Hearing aids are a necessity for many of us, but the price of prescription devices can be enormous, especially if insurance won’t cover it.

Luckily, over-the-counter OTC hearing aids like the OTOFONIX Encore are here to help!

Here we look at the 5 best OTC hearing aids.

Top 5 Over the Counter Hearing Aids

OTOFONIX Encore Hearing Aid

Price: $599.00 + free shipping

Rating:
5/5

When it comes to OTC hearing aids, look no further than OTOFONIX. These guys produce the best OTC hearing aids you can find on Amazon, and the Encore is their crème de la crème!

Available in gray or beige to help blend in with your skin tone or hair, the Encore has up to 53db of gain, so it’s suitable for more serious cases of hearing loss if you don’t require an audiologist visit.

Designed by doctors, the Encore has 4 listening modes (including telecoil) and 10 different volume levels, so it’s incredibly versatile for various settings.

This OTC hearing aid even uses 2 directional microphones for advanced noise-canceling, dumbing down background noise and boosting the sound of human voices.

The main downside to the Encore hearing aid devices is that they’re around $600 and they’re not good for people with limited dexterity. Also, they have no ON/OFF switch, so you’re forced to leave them on constantly and wear down the batteries.

PROS

  • Comfortable and discreet
  • Suitable for moderate to more severe hearing loss
  • Noise-canceling
  • Easy-to-follow instruction manual
  • Significantly improve hearing in noisy settings

CONS

  • Hard to assemble and change batteries
  • No ON/OFF switch (drains batteries)

Main Features

  • Up to 53db of gain
  • 4 listening modes & 10 volume settings
  • Feedback suppression to reduce whistling
  • 1-year warranty & 45-day free returns
  • Telecoil setting included

Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220D

Price: $98.50 + free shipping

Rating:
4/5

If you’re looking for the best cheap hearing aid for moderate hearing loss, let me introduce you to the Britzgo BHA-220D!

It might not have the world’s catchiest name, but this affordable hearing aid device has 4 frequency modes, various volume settings, and a whopping 500-hour battery life – you could easily go 30 days without changing the batteries!

The Britzgo is designed to be very simple and easy-to-use, with intuitive buttons for volume, settings, and power.

However, bear in mind that these aids are designed for milder hearing loss, not anything too severe.

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Rarely change the batteries (30+ days of use)
  • Easy to return if not right for you
  • Cheap price ($180 or less)
  • Great for mild/moderate hearing loss

CONS

  • Don’t filter out background noise
  • Not super comfortable

Main Features

  • 500-hour battery life
  • 1-year warranty
  • Very popular on Amazon
  • 4 frequency settings
  • Easy-to-use controls

Banglijian Hearing Amplifier Rechargeable Personal Sound Amplifier

Price: $249.98 (pair) + free shipping

Rating:
4.5/5

Designed by audiologists, the Banglijian personal sound amplifier is a (hard-to-pronounce) hearing device designed for mild or moderate hearing issues.

This device is fully USB rechargeable, holding a charge for a day, and even comes with a shockproof travel case for better portability.

You can also enjoy noise reduction and very little feedback, as well as intuitive setting and volume controls.

PROS

  • USB rechargeable (no more batteries!)
  • Noise reduction and minimal feedback
  • Great customer service team
  • Small and discreet

CONS

  • You may forget to charge them
  • A little pricey

Main Features

  • “Amazon’s Choice” product
  • 3-year warranty
  • Noise reduction & feedback suppression
  • USB rechargeable

Empower Hearing Amplifier

Price: $539.98 (pair) + free shipping

Rating:
3.5/5

Empower hearing amplifiers are very, very comfortable, so consider these babies if you want to forget that your OTC hearing aids are there at all!

They come with 4 frequency programs and 10 volume settings, letting you customize your hearing experience to the environment.

The Empower hearing devices also come with advanced noise reduction, helping to pinpoint human voices and boost their frequency, making people easier to hear in various settings.

Pencil-thin and hiding behind your ear, these are also some of the most discreet hearing aids you can buy on Amazon, although there is no ON/OFF switch, so the batteries can get drained rather quickly.

PROS

  • Pencil-thin discreet design
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Come with carry case & cleaning tool
  • Affordable and high quality

CONS

  • No ON/OFF switch
  • Customer service isn’t great

Main Features

  • 4 programs & 10 volume settings
  • 12-month warranty
  • Advanced noise reduction
  • Comfortable design

Coniler Rechargeable Hearing Amplifier for Adults and Seniors

Price: $37.98 (pair) + shipping costs

Rating:
3/5

If you’ve got mild hearing loss and you’re not bothered about being too discreet, then the Coniler Hearing Amplifiers might be perfect for you!

Cheap and cheerful, these products are USB rechargeable, lasting up to 48 hours on a single charge, though many users claim it’s closer to 1 day of use.

There are 2 modes (noisy setting and quiet setting) which help to keep things simple, as well as 4 levels of volume to flick through, finding the perfect setting for you!

They’re not subtle, but they get the job done for a lot of folks!

PROS

  • USB rechargeable up to 48 hours
  • Easy to use
  • Quite comfortable to wear
  • Simple controls

CONS

  • Easy to see
  • Limited modes and volume settings

Main Features

  • USB charging
  • 2 frequency modes & 4 volume settings
  • Noise reduction
  • Various ear plugs included

Can you buy hearing aids over the internet?

Yes, you can buy hearing aids over the internet if you go to specialist companies such as Eargo.

However, if you buy hearing aids from websites such as Amazon, you’ll notice that the devices are usually called “hearing amplifiers” or “personal sound amplification products” or “hearing loss devices” etc.

This is because companies selling OTC hearing devices which are not FDA-approved are not allowed to call their over-the-counter products “hearing aids” legally, even if they basically are the same as prescribed hearing aids.

On that note, some online hearing aid companies claim that their products are FDA-approved when they are not, so be careful of false claims.

Currently, no OTC hearing aids are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This should change soon.

Are over the counter hearing aids any good?

They amplify common problem areas

Over the counter hearing aids are not individually tailored to each person’s hearing and frequency range like they might be if they were bought through an audiologist’s office.

However, OTC hearing aids usually have pre-made settings that amplify frequencies commonly lost as we age.

For seniors who are losing their hearing naturally due to age, most of their “hearing weak spots” will be the same, so OTC hearing aid devices are a great one-size-fits-all solution to the problem.

Best for mild to moderate hearing loss

OTC hearing aids are not designed for people with severe hearing loss, but they are perfect if your hearing issues are mild to moderate.

If you have trouble occasionally hearing people in conversation, these products might be great for you.

On the other hand, if you need to turn your TV up to the max to hear it, you need more professional hearing solutions.

Not as discreet as traditional devices

Most OTC hearing aid products are the RIC (Receiver In Canal) or BTE (Behind the Ear) style.

This means that they’re hidden behind the ear, but they may be slightly visible from certain angles.

If you’re looking for invisible hearing aids or in-ear hearing aids that are almost impossible to see, you need to go to a professional audiologist.

Nonetheless, the larger size of Over-The-Counter hearing aids tends to mean that they can house bigger batteries with bigger battery lives. They’re also easier to control and tend to sound more “natural” because they aren’t plugging up your ear.

Should I buy OTC hearing aids or go to a clinic?

Let me be clear – if you have severe or serious hearing loss, you should go to a professional audiologist for treatment.

When it comes to serious hearing issues, over-the-counter products are not going to help you enough.

FDA-approved OTC hearing aids are coming soon thanks to the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act 2017 which was pushed through by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

However, if you buy a pair of these cheap hearing aids and find that they do little to help, you might need to see a professional for custom-built hearing aid devices.

Nonetheless, if your hearing problems are mild or moderate, then OTC hearing aids can be a great way to improve your clarity of sound while saving a ton of money!

On that note…

What’s the average cost of hearing aids?

Price of traditional hearing aids

So, how much are hearing aids on average? Well, if you’re getting a pair of hearing aids through the regular route of an audiologist or hearing clinic, you expect to pay around $5,600 on average.

Most insurance plans don’t cover hearing loss, and even if you’ve got a good plan that does, the co-pay payments can still be in the thousands of dollars.

We don’t all have that kind of money.

There are around 20 US states that automatically cover the cost of hearing aids for their citizens, but this usually only applies to children, so it’s rare for seniors to get hearing aids for free (or cheap).

Price of OTC hearing aids

On the other hand, OTC hearing aids tend to cost a lot less, typically around $200-$500 on average for a pair.

Even the best over-the-counter hearing aids like the OTOFONIX Encore retail for around $600, which is still significantly cheaper than prescription hearing aid devices.

If you need to seriously reduce the cost of hearing aids and you have mild to moderate hearing loss, OTC products may be the answer.

Are they always sold in pairs?

If you’re buying hearing aids online, be careful to read the product description carefully!

Sometimes sellers only sell one hearing aid device at a time, or there may be an option to select a “pair” for a higher price.

They do this so they can advertise a low price for a single hearing aid, attracting people to click on their product.

A couple of the products on this list are advertised as single devices, so be sure to make sure you buy 2 if you need a pair.

Are my hearing aids FDA approved?

If you have hearing aids obtained through a hearing clinic or audiologist, they will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, if you buy OTC hearing aids online without speaking to a medical professional, they will not be approved by the FDA as of 2020.

The Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 means that some OTC hearing aids will be approved by the FDA in the near future, but none currently are.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I think that the OTOFONIX Encore hearing amplifiers are the best OTC hearing aids on this list.

Their 53db of gain, advanced noise-canceling, and lengthy battery life give them the edge over the competition despite their higher price.

Nonetheless, I think that the Banglijian Hearing Amplifiers are a worthy runner-up, boasting the “Amazon’s Choice” label, USB charging, and hundreds of glowing customer reviews.

There are so many hearing aid brands and prices to consider, but I hope this guide has helped you to make the right decision as a buyer.

Happy hearing!

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