Best OTC Hearing Aids of 2024: Price and Sound Comparison | Hearing Tracker

Struggling to hear the TV without cranking up the volume? Relying on captions or constantly asking loved ones to repeat themselves? If you’re nodding along but missing the conversation, it’s time to consider over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.

Everything you need to know about over-the-counter hearing aids, including the 10 best performers for 2024.

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids have evolved considerably since the FDA officially opened this market. HearingTracker and HearAdvisor have tested and reviewed all of the major models.

Here’s what you need to know about the new affordable, accessible OTC hearing aids—how they can help you, what you should look for, what to avoid, price and purchase options, alternatives to consider, and more. If you already have an idea about which OTC device you want, you can quickly see what we have to say about them in our reviews below.

What are OTC hearing aids?

In October 2022, the FDA approved two new classes of OTC hearing aids that, unlike prescription hearing aids, are not required to be purchased from a hearing care professional. If you’re among the 30-million-plus adults in the U.S. with untreated mild-to-moderate hearing loss, they may help you start to hear much better. At prices ranging from $300 to over $1,500, the best of them will put an iPhone-sized dent in your pocketbook. But they are easy to buy and are bringing the average cost of high-quality hearing assistance below the $5,000 average price you may pay for a set of premium prescription hearing aids.

Although you can purchase a set of quality hearing aids fitted by a hearing care professional at Costco or a basic-level hearing aid from a local clinic for $1,500 to $5,000, it will generally take 2-6 office visits to get them matched precisely for your unique hearing needs. And not everyone has a $1,500+ hearing problem or wants to devote several hours to solving it. If that describes you and you have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, then OTC hearing aids may be a good alternative—even if it’s a temporary or situational remedy until you’re ready to see an audiologist.

However, the FDA’s new rules also provide only minimal quality assurances—and fewer consumer protections—compared to the state licensing laws that apply to prescription hearing aids dispensed by professionals. Additionally, there are two classes of OTC hearing aids:

  • A more-regulated “self-fitting” class that often utilizes a smartphone app and a hearing test for programming and adjusting the aids for your unique hearing loss, and
  • A less-regulated “wear and go” class that is generally less expensive and uses pre-set amplification or no programming at all; in general, these offer more basic amplification and fitting technology.

And it’s actually a bit more complicated than that, because OTC hearing aids sold both online and in stores have different FDA regulations (mostly labelling requirements) than those sold online only. For interested readers, HearingTracker has published a full list of FDA-registered OTC hearing aids based on their classifications.

How did we rank the Top-10 OTC hearing aids for 2024?

Over the past decade, HearingTracker has reviewed hundreds of hearing aids, hearables, PSAPs, hearing implants, and other hearing-related devices. More recently, we’ve teamed up with the independent HearAdvisor test lab that objectively assesses hearing aids on factors such as sound quality, speech understanding in noise, and music streaming. This lab has also created real-life sound samples and issued its HearAdvisor 2023 Expert Choice Awards, which recognizes the best-performing prescription and OTC hearing aids, as well as hearables. Finally, HearingTracker has developed a handy Hearing Aid Comparison tool where you can view hearing aid features side-by-side and listen to sound samples.

Because OTC hearing aids are new and there are some shockingly bad products on the market, we tend to lean toward those devices made by reputable hearing healthcare brands or at least companies that have long-standing, reliable track records. Professional in-person or telecare support during the initial onboarding process, as well as long-term product support (including honoring trial periods and warranties), are also very important considerations in our recommendations.

Given the above, here is a summary table of our top-10 picks, with more in-depth explanations of the products to follow:

  1. Sony CRE-E10 and CRE-C10
  2. Sennheiser All-Day Clear (ADC) Slim
  3. Jabra Enhance Plus
  4. Lexie Powered by Bose
  5. Lucid Engage Rechargeable
  6. HP Hearing PRO
  7. Eargo 7
  8. Sound World Solutions HD75 and HD75R
  9. Soundwave Sontro
  10. GoHearing Go Lite and Go Prime

Click below to learn more details about the above top 10 picks: