• Our team researched 50 prescription and over-the-counter hearing aids and tested 21 over-the-counter hearing aids to create our list of the six best OTC hearing aids.
  • We surveyed 1,000 people, interviewed 25 hearing aid users, and read more than 30 scientific journals.
  • The HelpGuide Handbook Team includes six hearing aid experts, of which three are audiologists.
  • We’ve spent over 7,500 collective hours researching the best hearing aids available on the market.

For more information, read our hearing aids review methodology.

For decades, hearing aids were available just one way: prescription models sold by an audiologist at an in-person hearing clinic. This restrictive model kept costs high and access low, which are two of the main reasons people wait an average of 10 years to get help with their hearing loss. 

Thankfully in October 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed a final rule permitting the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids in an effort to lower costs and expand access.

Now that accessible and more affordable OTC hearing aids are here, it’s become easier to treat hearing loss. But OTC hearing aids are still new—and with so many brands flooding the market, it can be difficult to know where to find affordable, high-quality devices.

That’s where we come in—our Handbook Team is here to help cut through the noise. Knowing how important hearing aid use is to mental health and quality of life, we hand-tested 21 OTC hearing aids to help you find the best hearing aids for your specific needs.

We loved the clear sound in Jabra Enhance hearing aids and their barely-there feel. Other hearing aid brands, like Lexie and MDHearing, offer more affordable hearing aids compared with Jabra Enhance, while brands like Eargo and Sony sell more discreet in-the-canal options. 

Our best overall OTC hearing aid pick: Jabra

Jabra Enhance is our pick for the best overall OTC hearing aid for its mix of quality and affordable cost. The company offers robust support from its audiology care team for up to three years after purchase (not all OTC companies offer support from certified hearing experts like Jabra). Jabra also offers an industry-leading three-year warranty and a 100-day free trial period (the longest trial period on this list). Finally, the sound quality and ease of use of Jabra Enhance earned the hearing aids top scores during our hands-on testing.

Best overall
9.9 Exceptional
Bluetooth streaming and 360-degree sound
Adjustments made by expert Audiology Team
100-day risk-free trial
9.9 Exceptional
Visit Site

On Jabra’s Website

Find the OTC hearing aid that’s right for you

  • Jabra Enhance: Our top pick
  • Audien: Low prices and simple features
  • Eargo: Best hidden hearing aids
  • Lexie: Most user-friendly
  • MDHearing: Lifetime audiology support for less than $700
  • Sony: Best discreet option under $1,000
  • Go Hearing: Best Bluetooth streaming under $500

What you need to know about our OTC hearing aid research and testing

If you only learn four things about OTC hearing aids, this is what you need to know.

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Use our curated list to find reputable brands and avoid OTC hearing aid scams.

Jabra Enhance had the best sound quality. Jabra Enhance had the best sound quality.
Prescription hearing aids offer better quality and customization. Prescription hearing aids offer better quality and customization.
Lucid failed our testing. Lucid failed our testing.
OTC hearing aids are some of the smallest and most affordable devices. OTC hearing aids are some of the smallest and most affordable devices.

Our testing experience

of research
7500+   hours
of research
27   devices
26   real people
17   experts

With FDA approval, the OTC hearing aid market experienced rapid growth with an influx of new companies. While this improves accessibility and helps drive down prices, it also muddies the waters. How do you know which products are trustworthy? 

After surveying the market, interviewing hearing health experts, and speaking to real hearing aid users, we curated a list of twenty-one OTC models to test from nine brands: Audien, Audicus, Eargo, Go Hearing, Jabra Enhance, Lexie, Lucid, MDHearing, and Sony. We chose these brands because they have positive reputations and represent a range of prices, styles, and features. 

We also tested prescription models from Oticon, Phonak, and Starkey to experience the difference between OTC and Rx (prescription) hearing aids firsthand. 

The process looked like this:

Our Hearing Aid Testing Process
Purchase hearing aids as mystery shoppers. Purchase hearing aids as mystery shoppers.
Set up and adjust hearing aids. Set up and adjust hearing aids.
Wear hearing aids and adjust volume. Wear hearing aids and adjust volume.
Evaluate sound quality, comfort, and ease of use. Evaluate sound quality, comfort, and ease of use.
Charge them or remove and replace the batteries. Charge them or remove and replace the batteries.
Remove and reinstall the domes and wax guards. Remove and reinstall the domes and wax guards.
Clean hearing aid with provided tools and instructions. Clean hearing aid with provided tools and instructions.
Test all features, including Bluetooth streaming. Test all features, including Bluetooth streaming.
Download app and test features. Download app and test features.

Our testers tried multiple devices and answered twenty-five questions about each. We used these answers to look for outstanding performers.

From our tester

“Jabra Enhance Select 300 has great sound quality for different environments. I could really tell the difference between the listening programs.”

We also looked for hearing aids that demonstrated consistent quality in fundamental features, like sound clarity, setup, comfort, and ease of use. Brands that couldn’t meet those standards didn’t make it onto our best-of list. 

No brand’s hearing aids performed flawlessly. For example, one of our testers ran into trouble right away with the MDHearing Volt: the Quick Start Guide didn’t explain how to turn it on.

We also completed onboarding calls with brand audiologists and talked with customer service representatives over the phone and through chat modules to accurately replicate the buying process and evaluate post-purchase support options.

Finally, we wrapped up our testing by interviewing independent audiologists, hearing instrument specialists, mental health experts, and hearing aid users to get additional perspective on OTC hearing aids.

The case for OTC hearing aids is particularly compelling. Being able to reach a wider population by increasing accessibility, simplifying the ease of fitting, and reducing the cost barriers … opens the gateway to an array of possibilities [previously inaccessible] due to exorbitant costs and lack of insurance coverage.

Shelley Singh, AuD

Compare the best OTC hearing aids

1. Jabra Enhance: Best overall

9.9 Exceptional
Jabra Enhance
Price: $799–$1,995
Adjustments made by expert Audiology Team
100-day risk-free trial
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-ear (ITE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), mini receiver-in-ear (RIE)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable, disposable
  • Standout feature: Great sound quality
Compare models
  • Plus: Rechargeable battery, Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calling, 45-day trial period
  • Select 50R: Rechargeable battery, Bluetooth streaming, 100-day trial period
  • Select 100: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth streaming, 100-day trial period
  • Select 300: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calling, 100-day trial period
More information

After testing more than two dozen hearing aids, the Handbook Team walked away in agreement: Jabra Enhance is the best OTC hearing aid brand. We were impressed by each model’s sound quality, comfort, and ease of use, as well as the company’s kind and responsive audiology team.


A person with brown hair wears a Jabra Enhance 300 hearing aid

The Jabra Enhance Select 300 is barely noticeable.

The company’s OTC lineup consists of an earbud-style hearing aid (Jabra Enhance Plus), two receiver-in-canal models (Jabra Enhance Select 50R and Jabra Enhance Select 100), and one mini receiver-in-ear model. Our testers were impressed by the small size and barely-there feel of the Jabra Enhance Select 300 compared to the other models, making it our favorite OTC hearing aid.

In July 2023, we surveyed 1,200 people who had purchased hearing aids. Of those who bought Jabra Enhance devices, nearly 46 percent—the highest percentage among OTC brands we surveyed—said they often forget they’re wearing them because the hearing aids are so comfortable. Our testers agree, noting the Select models are smaller and more lightweight than similar styles from other brands. They’re also easy to wipe clean with a cloth and come with a useful tool for removing the wax guards.


Beige earbud-style hearing aid nestled in a white man’s ear bowl.

Jabra Enhance Plus looks more like an earbud than a hearing aid.

We also like how Jabra Enhance gives you more than three months (100 days) to try its Select models, giving you plenty of time to acclimate to different domes and settings before deciding whether they’re the right hearing aids for you. It’s actually the only OTC hearing aid company to give such a long trial period—all other models we recommend come with forty-five-day trial periods.

Although Jabra Enhance landed at the top of our list, it’s not perfect. Be aware of these downsides before you buy:

  • Hands-free calling only works with the iPhone 11 or later, with no Android support.
  • With the Select models, you have to pay extra for three years of audiology support.
  • Based on our survey results, Jabra Enhance hearing aids may be more difficult to clean and maintain than other brands.

What our testers say: “The orientation call with an audiologist is very helpful. She showed me how to use the app, explained when to use the different environment settings, ensured the correct fit, and walked me through the cleaning process—all things a new hearing aid user would need to know. And I can’t get over how terrific these feel, not bulky at all.”

Our top pick

Our final verdict on Jabra Enhance

Jabra Enhance makes the best OTC hearing aids on the market. With excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and friendly audiology staff, they are a top choice for users with mild to moderate hearing loss. Additionally, the generous 100-day trial period for Select models allows ample time for users to adapt to the aids fully, ensuring they are the perfect fit before making a final decision.

2. Lexie: Most user-friendly

Most user-friendly
9.6 Excellent
Price: $799–$999
Friendly, knowledgeable customer support team
45-day trial-period
  • Type of hearing aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable, disposable
  • Standout feature: The self-fitting guide in the app provided clear, easy-to-follow instructions
Compare models
  • Lumen: Telecoil, disposable battery
  • B1: Rechargeable battery
  • B2 Plus: Hands-free calling, rechargeable battery, in-app hearing test for customized hearing aid setting recommendations, on-the-go charging case
More information

We named Lexie hearing aids “most user-friendly” thanks to the easy self-fitting process. The Lexie app gives thorough instructions and helpful animations to ensure you’ve chosen the correct dome and inserted the hearing aid properly. It then assesses your hearing and automatically adjusts the settings accordingly.

Lexie hearing aid in white woman’s ear

We also like the Lexie app for making it easy to contact customer service, buy accessories, and view troubleshooting videos or video call the audiology team. And we’re not the only ones who like the Lexie app—according to our survey, 48 percent of Lexie users use the app often and find it helpful and intuitive. That’s the highest approval percentage of any OTC brand in our survey.

According to our testers, Lexie hearing aids have a sound quality similar to the Jabra Enhance Select 50 and Select 100, which cost about $200–$700 more than the same receiver-in-canal style from Lexie (the B1 or B2 Plus Powered by Bose). The major difference is the B1 and B2 Plus don’t come with Bluetooth audio streaming capabilities.


A drawing of a head shaking shows how the Lexie app instructs you to shake your head to ensure hearing aids don’t fall out

The Lexie app is full of detailed and helpful instructions to ensure proper fit and adjustment.

Our testers also noticed a subtle difference in the program controls on the B1 and B2 Plus versus the Lumen. The B1 and B2 Plus models only have volume controls on the casing, so you have to open the app to switch between programs. In comparison, the Lumen features separate buttons for volume and programs, and a helpful voice announces each new setting as you press each button. Other brands, including Jabra Enhance, signal program changes with a series of beeps instead.

While all Lexie hearing aids pair with Bluetooth, only the B2 Plus streams calls (not music), and it only works with iPhones, not Android devices. The other two models use Bluetooth simply to connect to the Lexie app.

What our testers say: “Lexie hearing aids are a very good value for the price. They have good sound quality, a great app, and knowledgeable customer support. They’re even easy to put on and clean.”

We did find some drawbacks with Lexie. Changing the batteries in the Lumen and B1 was inconvenient since both the battery door and the batteries are tiny and could be hard to manage for people with dexterity issues. If you drop them, they’re nearly impossible to find.

We also didn’t like the user manual. A few of the instructions were confusing, and the manual was long and hard to follow. Most other OTC hearing aid manuals are shorter, easier to use, and have larger text and more pictures.

While you can make hands-free calls with the B2 Plus, Lexie doesn’t offer Bluetooth audio streaming. The sound quality also isn’t as great as what you’ll find in Jabra Enhance, but we still were impressed with the audio.

Our final verdict on Lexie

We loved the intuitive, step-by-step guidance in the Lexie app that helped our testers set up Lexie faster than any other brand (in about five minutes). We appreciate the user-friendly design, particularly in the B2 Plus model, which includes a self-fitting guide in the app that provides clear, easy-to-follow instructions for a seamless setup. Additionally, the app’s comprehensive customer support features and the ability to conduct an in-app hearing test that tailors the device settings to individual needs make Lexie a standout choice for ease of use and personalization.

3. MDHearing: Lifetime audiology support under $700

Lifetime audiology support
9.1 Excellent
Price: $300–$700
Lifetime audiologist support
45-day trial-period
  • Type of hearing aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-canal (ITC)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Standout feature: Free audiology support for lifetime of device
Compare models
  • Air: Telecoil, one-year warranty, four environment settings
  • Neo: One-year warranty, one environment setting
  • Volt: Dual directional microphones, one-year warranty, four environment settings
  • Volt Max: Connects to app, dual directional microphones, two-year warranty, automatic environment adjustments
  • NEO XS: Virtually invisible, smallest model, rechargeable, upgraded noise reduction 
More information

MDHearing provides free support for the lifetime of its devices, which is unusual for OTC brands, especially those with such an affordable lineup. We’ve always received knowledgeable responses from the MDHearing audiology team but have sometimes experienced long wait times.

Beige behind-the-ear hearing aid worn by a brunette woman.

The hearing aids from MDHearing are basic, comfortable, and overall easy to use, with the exception of changing out the hard-to-grasp domes. They’re a good choice for a beginning user who doesn’t want an app-compatible hearing aid. All of our testers appreciated the manual’s clear instructions and said the devices had intuitive controls.

Hearing aids from MDHearing cost less than brands like Jabra Enhance and Lexie because they don’t connect to an app (except for the $700 Volt Max) and don’t offer Bluetooth streaming. Unlike other low-cost hearing aids, all MDHearing models use rechargeable batteries. We appreciate this touch of convenience in an affordable brand.

Our survey also found that 57 percent of MDHearing customers—the highest percentage among OTC buyers—believe these hearing aids are easy to maintain. Most respondents also indicated the hearing aids are comfortable but could always be felt when worn. This aligns with our testers’ verdict: MDHearing hearing aids aren’t as lightweight as Jabra Enhance models.

However, MDHearing’s latest model, NEO XS, is their smallest model yet, which our testers say is about the size of a dime. In fact, they are the tiniest hearing aids we’ve tested, and they fit discreetly and comfortably in the ear. Despite their small size, using them is very straightforward and easy. Our testers appreciated the device’s compact size, intuitive design, and comfort.

What our testers say: “MDHearing provides a helpful guide that walks you through expectations for the first three weeks of wearing hearing aids. Other brands gloss over this important information. The manual also has tons of tips for optimal performance, so the company really sets you up for success.”

Our final verdict on MDHearing

With affordable prices and hard-to-find free lifetime audiology support, MDHearing is a good choice for hearing aid users who aren’t ready to invest in more expensive devices. We appreciate the rechargeable batteries—a feature that’s not often available on hearing aids at this price point. Additionally, the MDHearing lineup, particularly the NEO XS model, is praised for its compact, nearly invisible design and upgraded noise reduction, making it an excellent choice for those seeking discreet and effective hearing solutions.

4. Eargo: Best hidden hearing aids

Best hidden
9.6 Excellent
Price: $1,650–$2,950
Free try-on sample
Unique tip and discreet design
  • Type of hearing aid: Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Standout feature: Small size, free pair of inactive hearing aids to test fit
Compare models
  • Eargo 5: One-year warranty
  • Eargo 6: Water resistant, one-year warranty, automatic environmental adjustments
  • Eargo 7: Water resistant, two-year warranty, automatic environmental adjustments, clarity mode
  • Eargo SE: Virtually invisible, rechargeable, lifetime support
    Eargo LINK: Earbud-style hearing device, Bluetooth streaming, discreet design
More information

If you’re looking for a sleek and unobtrusive hearing aid, consider the Eargo line. All models fit completely-in-the-canal with only the tiny pull tab, which is used to remove the hearing aids, in plain view. The hearing aids may stick out further than expected depending on the size and shape of your ear canal. These hearing aids come with four pairs of comfortable petal-shaped domes to help you get the right fit and sound clarity. Eargo sells other dome styles too.

Eargo hearing aid in white woman’s ear

Our testers noticed a distracting tinny quality in the Eargo models that wasn’t present in hearing aids from other brands. We also couldn’t reduce background noises to an adequate level. That said, we read hundreds of customer reviews praising the sound quality of these devices. You can always try them and return them within forty-five days to get a refund in case you don’t like the way they sound.


Eargo hearing aid next to a wireless earbud

Eargo hearing aids are much smaller than standard wireless earbuds.

If you prefer an in-person shopping experience, visit your local Victra-Verizon store to see Eargo models firsthand. We recommend requesting a free sample of nonfunctional hearing aids from Eargo to make sure they’re comfortable and fit all the way in your ear before making your final decision. We’re not aware of any other OTC hearing aid brand with a similar try-before-you-buy experience.

The most advanced option, Eargo 7, includes an automatic adjustment setting that clarifies speech or reduces amplification in noisy environments. This feature is similar to Edge Mode+ from prescription brand Starkey.

What our testers say: “I just don’t really like the sound quality. It was tinny and echoey and had too much background noise regardless of how I changed the noise reduction level in the app. It’s nice to tap on the ear to change programs, though, and didn’t give me that plugged-up feeling like other completely-in-canal models.”

Read more in our in-depth Eargo hearing aid review.

Our final verdict on Eargo

Eargo’s OTC hearing aids include multiple models that offer discreet support, making them our top pick for the best hidden hearing aids. Additionally, the unique opportunity to test fit with a free pair of non-functional hearing aids before purchase sets Eargo apart, providing potential users with confidence in their choice. The rechargeable batteries and water-resistant properties across various models like the Eargo 6 and Eargo 7 add convenience and durability, making these hearing aids a practical choice for everyday use.

5. Sony: Best discreet option under $1,000

Best discreet under $1,000
8.9 Very good
Price per pair: $999–$1,299
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-ear (ITE)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable, disposable
  • Standout feature: Self-fitting
Compare models
  • CRE-E10: Rechargeable batteries, larger profile, Bluetooth streaming
  • CRE-C10: Disposable batteries, smaller profile
More information

Sony sells two hearing aids with sound quality similar to the Jabra Enhance Select series: the CRE-E10 and CRE-C10. The CRE-C10 is a low-profile model that fits discreetly in the ear, whereas the CRE-E10 is more noticeable and supports iOS Bluetooth streaming. These self-fitting hearing aids connect to a mobile app for a simple but lengthy setup, with the process taking about thirty minutes.

A Black Sony hearing aid worn in a white woman’s ear

Neither model is waterproof, so they can’t be worn in the shower or while swimming. And because Sony doesn’t offer remote audiology support, its hearing aids may not be a good choice for people who want that extra support.

Sony hearing aids were the most common OTC model owned by our survey respondents but weren’t the highest-rated in any category. Most people described them as easy to maintain but said they could always feel them in their ears.

Because there are no physical buttons on these hearing aids, all adjustments must be made through the app. Our survey found that young people were more likely to approve of the Sony Hearing Control app than people forty-five and over. Our testers noticed some controls, like Bluetooth or mute buttons, may be confusing for people who aren’t regular cell phone users.

What our testers say: “The CRE-C10 is great for someone who wants a discreet hearing aid. They fit way down into the ear canal, so they definitely stay put, even with excessive head movement. The CRE-E10 hearing aids are a bit larger and moved around in my ear a little more. But overall both were comfortable and pretty snug in my ears.”

Our final verdict on Sony

The sound quality of Sony hearing aids rivals that of Jabra Enhance models, and the company makes the second-most discreet hearing aid on our list behind Eargo models (which cost up to three times more), but the lack of remote support may be a deal-breaker for some. Active individuals will appreciate the low-profile design of the CRE-C10 model, which fits snugly in the ear, offering comfort and stability even with movement. Additionally, the self-fitting feature, supported by a comprehensive mobile app, allows for easy customization of settings, ensuring users can achieve optimal sound quality tailored to their hearing needs.

6. Go Hearing: Best Bluetooth streaming under $500

Best bluetooth under $500
9.2 Excellent
Go Hearing
Price per pair: $169–$499
Bluetooth streaming
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Standout feature: Affordable Bluetooth streaming
Compare models
  • Go Lite: Analog sound processing, no presets
  • Go Prime: Digital sound processing, three presets
  • Go Ultra: Digital sound processing, four presets, Bluetooth streaming
More information

Go Hearing sells three hearing aids that cost under $500, including one with Bluetooth streaming. We found all Go Hearing models easy to set up, use, and charge. None of the models pair with a smartphone app for sound adjustments or volume control, so you’ll have to choose a preset program to match your current sound environment by toggling a switch on the hearing aid casing.

A white woman wears a Go Hearing hearing aid in her left ear.

Despite having no mobile app, Go Hearing offers Bluetooth streaming in the Go Ultra. The hearing aids pair to Bluetooth as soon as they’re turned on, which is convenient for catching phone calls. Unfortunately, keeping them paired to Bluetooth limits their battery life to eight hours.

You just get basic customer service through Go Hearing rather than access to a hearing professional, so these devices may work best if you’re confident about setting up, fitting, and using hearing aids. MDHearing is a better option for people looking for affordable devices and audiology support.

What our testers say: “Go Hearing hearing aids are good products for the cost. They’re very compact, and so are the charging cases. All of the functions are basic with nothing superfluous, so they’re easy to use.”

Our final verdict on Go Hearing

Go Hearing offers popular features, like rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming, at a fraction of the cost of other brands. We especially love its straightforward and affordable range of hearing aids, particularly the Go Ultra model, which offers digital sound processing for under $500. Despite their simplicity and lack of a mobile app, these hearing aids are easy to use and set up, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a no-fuss, budget-friendly option to enhance their hearing.

Other brands to consider

Audien: Lowest price and simple features


Our verdict: Audien hearing aids have an attractive starting price of $99 and deliver all the basics. While they may not offer all the bells and whistles, Audien has made major improvements in its newer models.

We admit, there were things we didn’t particularly love about the Series 1 Audien hearing aids—namely, that they didn’t have presets for different types of sound environments and required a tiny screwdriver for volume adjustment. But the Series 2 models, including the Atom 2 and Atom 2 Pro, contain a new tapping system to adjust sound environments and volume settings with ease. 

Even at $189 for the Atom 2 and $289 for the Atom 2 Pro, both models are still very much affordable options on the over-the-counter market. Reasons they did not make our top-picks list, though, include no low-battery warning, water resistance, Bluetooth connectivity, or smartphone app compatibility. Most importantly, we don’t like that Audien does not offer post-purchase audiology support, which is important to have with OTC hearing aids.

What our testers say: “It is a pretty straightforward device. There is no app, and only four program settings and five volume settings. May be a good starter device for those who want a discreet product.”

Read more about Audien in our in-depth Audien hearing aid review.

Brands we don’t recommend

Lucid: Difficult setup, inconsistent quality

Our verdict: Set-up was difficult with conflicting guidance, some devices have volume that’s hard to adjust, and Lucid Hearing aids didn’t sound as clear as our top choice.

We had a difficult experience setting up and using the Enlite model and encourage our readers to avoid it on account of its confusing manual. It also lacks nuanced volume controls, limiting you to two choices: normal or high. The Engage Rechargeable fared better thanks to a coherent user guide and the ability to change settings through an app, but we found the lack of magnetic charging ports frustrating. The sound quality was average at best.

The only thing Lucid Hearing has going for it is its partnership with Sam’s Club Hearing Aid Centers for in-person support. You can get easier-to-use hearing aids in the same style and for a similar price through MDHearing, though, which offers free remote audiology support for the lifetime of the device.

What our testers say: “Nothing about Lucid hearing aids stands out as to why they’d be worth buying compared to the competition. They feel cheap and offer little to no custom settings. Changing or recharging batteries isn’t as easy as with other brands due to unclear instructions and ports that aren’t magnetic.” 

Pros and cons of OTC hearing aids

The introduction of OTC hearing aids has made it easier for people to get hearing aids within their budget and on their own terms. That means more people have the opportunity to treat their hearing loss and alleviate its side effects—including feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

“Hearing loss can have significant effects on mental health,” said Marissa Moore, a licensed professional counselor in Missouri. “It can lead to feelings of isolation, social withdrawal, and reduced quality of life. Communication difficulties can cause frustration, anxiety, and depression. Constantly straining to hear can also lead to mental fatigue, which in turn affects cognitive function and overall well-being.”

Wearing hearing aids even helps older adults with dementia: Research shows older adults at high risk of dementia can slow their rate of cognitive decline by as much as 50 percent simply by wearing hearing aids.

Because OTC hearing aids are more accessible and affordable, they can help people get early hearing loss treatment. On the downside, the affordability of OTC hearing aids often translates to less sophisticated technology and limited in-person support options, so they may not be the ideal solution for everyone.

What we like about OTC hearing aids

  • More accessible: OTC hearing aids exist to make hearing loss treatment more accessible by removing barriers associated with scheduling, attending, and paying for an audiology appointment.
  • More affordable (usually): If you want to spend less than $1,500 on a pair of hearing aids, OTC is the way to go. 
  • Convenient adjustments: With some OTC hearing aids, the company’s audiology team can remotely adjust the settings for you according to your level and configuration of hearing loss.

Hearing aid use has been a life-changing experience for many of my patients who suffer from hearing loss. Many patients have reported increased quality of life and an improved ability to communicate with others, leading to greater normalcy and improved social interaction.

Paul Daidone, MD, medical director of True Self Recovery in Rogers, Arkansas

What we don’t like about OTC hearing aids

  • Insufficient for severe and profound hearing loss: OTC hearing aids are approved by the FDA to treat mild to moderate hearing loss only.
  • Some support limitations: Some OTC hearing aid companies don’t provide reprogramming services, and local audiologists aren’t always able to help with these devices. 
  • Less advanced technology: You’ll find fewer processing channels, which improve speech clarity and reduce background noise, in OTC devices, as well as little to no AI to support the interpretation and subsequent amplification of desirable sounds.

Buying OTC hearing aids

You can buy OTC hearing aids online or, in some cases, from brick-and-mortar stores. Your local audiology center or pharmacy may sell them too, but that’s rare for now. 

Here’s more info to help you decide where to buy hearing aids and how to pay for them.


Handbook Team Tip #1

Avoid buying a model just because it has the most bells and whistles—you may be able to save money by opting for a model that has all the features you need and nothing extra.

OTC Hearing Aids price range graphic

OTC hearing aids cost between $100–$3,000, which makes them more affordable than prescription models, with rare exceptions. 

Despite the lower cost of OTC hearing aids, they can have surprisingly advanced features, like wind suppression, tinnitus management, and automatic sound environment adjustments. 

Insurance coverage

Handbook Team Tip #2

Ask a hearing clinic to verify your hearing aid insurance coverage, as they’ll usually do it for free and will know the right questions to ask.

Unfortunately, it’s rare for insurance plans to pay for an adult’s hearing aids. You’re in luck if you live in these six states, since they require insurance to cover a portion of your hearing aids:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Maine
  • Vermont (starting January 2024)

Take a look at the map below to see other states with age-related hearing aid coverage mandates.

State-Mandated private insurance coverage for hearing aids

Private insurance companies in any state may give you the option to pay for a hearing care benefit, like they do for vision care. Unfortunately, some plans, like Humana Extend, only cover hearing exams, not hearing aids.

If you buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, your state may require providers to cover hearing aids, subject to age restrictions on ACA hearing aid coverage. View the map below to see age restrictions in your state:

States with hearing aid coverage through the Affordable Care Act

Original Medicare (Parts A & B) does not pay for hearing aids, but some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may offer hearing benefits.

States highlighted in the map below provide hearing aid coverage for adults with Medicaid but often require a prescription, among other limitations:

States with Medicaid coverage for hearing aids

Where to buy over-the-counter hearing aids

Handbook Team Tip #3

Beware of any OTC hearing aid company that claims to have an “FDA registration certificate.” This is a common scam—the FDA doesn’t issue registration certificates for medical devices.

OTC hearing aid manufacturers sell their devices directly to consumers via the brand’s website or through third-party retailers, such as:

  • Amazon.com (Audien, Go Hearing, Jabra Enhance, Lucid, MDHearing, Sony)
  • BestBuy.com (Eargo, Go Hearing, Jabra Enhance, Lexie, Lucid, Sony)
  • CVS.com (Go Hearing, Lexie, Lucid)
  • SamsClub.com (Lucid)
  • Walgreens.com (Go Hearing, Lexie)
  • Walmart.com (Audien, GoHearing, Lexie, Lucid)

If you want to see hearing aids in-person before you buy, you can visit the following stores, as well as local pharmacies and medical supply stores:

  • Best Buy
  • Sam’s Club
  • Victra-Verizon
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Costco

How to save money

Handbook Team Tip #4

Watch for sales. OTC hearing aid companies routinely run seasonal or holiday sales. Sign up for a company’s email newsletter to be notified when products go on sale.

To save money on hearing aids, make sure you’re not paying for features you don’t want or need. For example, choosing the second feature in each trade-off below could help save you money:

  • Smaller and discreet vs. larger and conspicuous
  • Disposable vs. rechargeable batteries
  • App vs. no app
  • Bluetooth streaming vs. no streaming

If eligible, you may be able to get a free or low-cost hearing aid through the following programs and nonprofits:


Handbook Team Tip #5

Read the fine print when financing through your hearing aid company—some third-party financing partners charge interest up to 36 percent.

If you’d like to split the cost of a hearing aid into monthly payments, consider buying directly through companies offering financing, like:

  • Jabra Enhance: Monthly payments start at $26–$49, depending on the model, for 12–36 months through Bread Pay. 
  • Eargo: Monthly payments start at $26–$83, depending on the model, for up to 36 months through Bread Pay.
  • Go Hearing: Financing is available for six to 36 months through Klarna.
  • MDHearing: Monthly payments start at $24–$59, depending on the model, for three to 12 months through Affirm.
  • Sony: Monthly payments start at $84–$109, depending on the model, for six to 12 months through Affirm.

For full terms and conditions, contact each company directly. When purchasing online, look for the financing option during checkout. 

Some retailers also offer financing, but the interest rates can be as high as 36 percent, depending on your credit score:

What’s the difference between OTC hearing aids and traditional hearing aids?

As their names imply, traditional or prescription hearing aids and OTC hearing aids have different purchasing requirements. You need an audiologist’s approval before buying a prescription hearing aid, whereas OTC hearing aids can be bought without medical input.

OTC Hearing aids vs traditional hearing aids graphic

The FDA imposes a couple of restrictions on OTC hearing aids that don’t apply to prescription models. First, OTC devices can only be used by adults, so anyone under 18 must get a prescription hearing aid. Second, OTC hearing aids may only treat mild to moderate hearing loss, whereas prescription hearing aids may treat all levels of hearing loss. 

Customer support

Another difference between OTC and traditional hearing aids boils down to the type of support available. Some OTC hearing aid companies provide free remote support from a team of audiologists, while others keep costs ultra-low by skipping this service. But remote support isn’t unique to OTC hearing aids—prescription hearing aids can be remotely adjusted too.

We talked to Dr. Reisman about the support differences between OTC and prescription hearing aids, and she explained that local audiologists can’t access the computer chips in OTC devices to make adjustments. In contrast, they can adjust all prescription brands.

Prescription hearing aids are unlocked devices that can ultimately be adjusted or programmed by any audiologist or hearing instrument specialist that services those devices in any country.

Ruth Reisman, AuD, Audiologists.org

If OTC devices need to be reprogrammed, for example, you’d have to mail them to the brand’s audiology team. With prescription hearing aids, you could make an appointment for in-person assistance and wouldn’t have to part with the devices. 

Cost and coverage

OTC hearing aids are more affordable, ranging from $100–$3,000 per pair compared to $1,500–$7,000 for a pair of prescription devices. We compiled cost data from more than 30 hearing aids in each category and found that a pair of OTC hearing aids averages a little more than $1,000, whereas a pair of prescription hearing aids averages around $2,650.  

If you plan to use insurance or Medicaid to help with the cost of hearing aids, you may need to choose prescription devices. Check your policy or state Medicaid laws to see if a prescription is required for hearing aid coverage. 


Features like wind suppression, tinnitus management, directional microphones, automatic sound environment adjustments, and Bluetooth streaming do exist in some OTC hearing aids but are rare in discreet styles, like in-the-ear or completely-in-canal. In contrast, these features are more common in prescription devices of all styles. Our testers could tell the difference when wearing OTC versus prescription models.

Although prescription devices have the upper hand in many ways, Dr. Reisman believes OTC hearing aids can work well for some people. “The performance of an over-the-counter hearing aid depends on the patient’s expectations, their degree of hearing loss, and the anatomy of their ear,” she explained. “There are some patients who do really well with [an OTC] device.”

Who are OTC hearing aids for?

OTC hearing aids are for adults over the age of 18 who have mild to moderate hearing loss. If you are unsure of what mild to moderate hearing loss might feel or look like, watch for some of these signs:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat what they are saying.
  • Difficulty understanding whispers.
  • Confusion with similar words.
  • Missing syllables or highly used consonants. 
  • Changes in your hearing behavior, like increasing device volume levels or the need to sit closer to a speaker.

Using OTC hearing aids

Because over-the-counter hearing devices do not require a professional assessment or prescription, it’s important that you self-test ahead of time—there are plenty of free assessments available online—and understand how to set up and adjust your OTC hearing aids once you purchase them. You should also be comfortable with using technology, which often includes communicating with remote audiology support team members through video and online chats. Plus, it’s important to learn how to maintain and clean your OTC hearing aids on your own to make them last as long as possible.

When to see a specialist about OTC devices

If you’re unsure of whether you need to purchase OTC hearing aids, it’s a good idea to visit a hearing health clinic to confirm your level of hearing. A specialist will be able to give you the official green light so that you feel confident in your buying decision. Or, they can determine whether there are underlying health issues causing your hearing loss. For example, if you recently experienced a head or ear injury, have tinnitus, experience fluid in the ear, or have wax build up deep in your ear canal, you may need to treat a different issue. This could also mean meeting with another medical professional to treat a health concern that is not directly related to hearing difficulties.

Top features to look for in OTC hearing aids

A few considerations, like remote post-purchase support, are unique to the OTC buying experience.

Dome sizes and styles

To ensure a comfortable fit, hearing aid domes need to be the right size for your ear canal. Dome styles (closed or vented) can also improve sound clarity based on your type of hearing loss and whether you intend to stream audio through Bluetooth. 

Because you’re fitting the hearing aids yourself, it’s important to have options readily available. Some hearing aids come with as many as nine pairs of domes to try, for example, but others come with just two.

Five pairs of hearing aid dome types on a cream background

Post-purchase support

You don’t need an audiologist’s permission to buy OTC hearing aids, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid professional audiology support altogether. If you’re new to hearing aids, consider buying from a company that offers robust post-purchase support. 

For example, Jabra Enhance and MDHearing provide free onboarding calls to explain how to make adjustments, select the right dome, and wear the devices correctly. 

Also, think about whether you’d like free cleanings, free or discounted repairs, and remote adjustments.

Self-fitting capabilities

A self-fitting hearing aid connects to an app that lets you fine-tune the volume, bass, and treble on each hearing aid for the clearest and most comfortable sound. Some self-fitting hearing aids, like those made by Lexie, use the results of an in-app hearing test to suggest optimal adjustments. 

You can also create and save settings for different sound environments, like noisy restaurants or windy outdoor locations, to reduce background noise and amplify speech as much as possible. To quickly activate those presets, you’ll press buttons on the hearing aid casing or use the app. A few OTC hearing aids, like the Eargo 7, analyze the sound environment and make automatic adjustments for your convenience.

Hearing aids that aren’t self-fitting come with generic presets, which keeps them affordable.

Jabra Enhance Select app
Using the Jabra Enhance Select app

Sound technology

To ensure good sound quality, look for OTC hearing aids with these features:

  • High number of processing channels
  • High number of frequency bands
  • Directional microphones
  • Automatic environmental adjustments
  • Wind management
  • Feedback suppression
  • Volume limiters

The number of processing channels certainly makes a difference to the quality of the hearing aid. A higher number of channels allows the hearing aid to amplify different frequencies of sound more precisely, which makes for a more natural and customized listening experience.

Peter Byrom, AuD

Battery type and life

OTC hearing aids come with rechargeable or disposable batteries, depending on the model. Rechargeable batteries are more convenient if you have limited dexterity, which can make it tricky to remove and insert tiny disposable batteries. 

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries hold a charge long enough to get you through the day, but the number of hours you can get from a charge is reduced when connected to Bluetooth and other accessories. Expect to charge them at least once per day. Consider models with portable charging cases or quick-charge options for added convenience.

Use the chart below to compare the average battery life of the OTC brands we recommend:

Average rechargeable battery life among PTC hearing aids in hours

On the other hand, hearing aids that use disposable batteries tend to be more affordable. The batteries themselves cost about 30 cents each and, according to Byrom, must be changed every three to 12 days, depending on the size:

  • Size 10 lasts three to seven days.
  • Size 312 lasts three to 10 days.
  • Size 13 lasts six to 14 days.
  • Size 675 lasts nine to 20 days.

If you’re on a tight budget, then disposable batteries may be the better option for you, but there’s no significant benefit to choosing disposable over rechargeable batteries for your hearing aid past this.

Peter Byrom, AuD

Trial period and warranty

All of our recommended hearing aids come with a 45-day trial period, with the exception of the Jabra Enhance Select series, which comes with a 100-day trial. Jocelyn Doré, AuD, said it takes about 30 to 45 days to acclimate to a new pair of hearing aids, so the average OTC trial period gives you just enough time to decide if the devices are worth keeping.  

You should also look for a long (and preferably free) warranty to cover repairs or replacements. One- and two-year warranties are common among OTC hearing aids. Some companies let you pay for an extended warranty. Considering the high cost of some hearing aids, it may be worth paying a little extra to protect your investment.

Our final verdict

Jabra Enhance has the best overall performance of the OTC hearing aids we tested, with just one other brand, Lexie, showcasing similar sound quality and ease of use. Every Jabra Enhance model emitted noticeably less background noise than other brands, fit comfortably in our ears, and was easy to set up. Plus, the company’s receiver-in-canal devices look even smaller and more discreet than comparable hearing aids from Lexie and MDHearing, with only a thin tube showing from the front and side.

That said, we know Jabra Enhance won’t be the best solution for everyone. We intentionally looked for other hearing aids that excelled where Jabra Enhance fell short, especially in terms of affordability, so you can find the best option for you.

Once you start hearing clearly again, you’ll likely experience a cascade of positive effects in how you communicate, socialize, balance, and more. An OTC hearing aid can kick-start those benefits just as much as a prescription device, but only if you have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Consider visiting an audiologist in person for a thorough exam, so you can find the right hearing aid for your level of hearing loss.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, inexpensive hearing aids do work, but they don’t come with some of the perks of more expensive models, like advanced background noise reduction, customizable presets, or free support from an audiology team.

Over-the-counter hearing aids are designed for the treatment of mild to moderate hearing loss, while prescription hearing aids are more technologically advanced to address hearing loss that has been diagnosed as moderate, severe, or profound. Prescription aids are also more appropriate for people who need tailor-made devices.

When shopping for good-quality OTC hearing aids, consider the brands included in this review that have been researched and tested by our team of reviewers, recommended by experts in the field, and given high ratings by customers.

Yes, OTC hearing aids are now approved by the FDA and available to purchase.

Hearing aids that treat mild to moderate hearing loss can be bought over the counter. OTC hearing aid brands include Audien, Eargo, Go Hearing, Jabra Enhance, Lexie Hearing, Lucid Hearing, MDHearing, and Sony.

If you take a hearing test with results that show you fall into the 26–70 decibel range, you have mild to moderate hearing loss. With this grade of hearing difficulty, you can look into over-the-counter hearing aids like Jabra Enhance, Lexie, and Eargo, among others featured in this review, for hearing support. If you are on the higher end of the moderate hearing loss spectrum, 70 decibels or above, consider visiting an audiologist to confirm your diagnosis. If further testing reveals you actually have moderate to severe or profound hearing loss, you may need a more advanced (prescription) hearing aid.

Jabra Enhance Select 50R, 100, and 300 stream tinnitus masking sounds through the company’s mobile app.

That said, any hearing aid may improve tinnitus by increasing sound stimuli to the brain. Hearing new sounds may also distract you from the noise, lessening the impact of tinnitus on your mental health.

While Medicare A and B do not offer coverage for hearing exams, devices, or supplies you may need, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans might. Contact your health insurance provider directly to find out if your policy offers any hearing health coverage options.

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