Category: Hearing

Are over-the-counter hearing aids right for you?

Approximately 15% of American adults over the age of 18 report some trouble hearing, and nearly 25% of those between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss severe enough to affect their daily life. In an effort to make a more accessible solution, the FDA recently made over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids available at some retail stores in Illinois. However, they can be purchased without a professional hearing evaluation and are not yet available through licensed, professional audiologists who are experienced experts in hearing loss. While this may make them a more convenient option, they may not be the best solution for you.

Prescription hearing aids require a hearing evaluation – the audiologist performing your evaluation can help determine if hearing aids are the correct remedy for your issue(s) and exactly which device will personally meet your exact needs. Prescription hearing aids can be fit for all ages, can be customized to the individual wearer, and are programmed and supported by a professional. Follow-up care and instructions are provided, and the state mandates a return policy.

For comparison, OTC hearing aids are currently only available for those aged 18+ with only mild to (at best) moderate hearing loss. No professional fitting or support is provided, and they come with self-guided instructions. One size fits most, and there is no state requirement for a return policy. It’s a more ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to hearing loss solutions.

Prescription Hearing AidsOver-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Who fits them?Programmed and Supported by a Professional (Licensed Audiologist)Self-fit, no professional fitting or support
Intended User?For any age, any medical statusFor Ages 18+, best for those without complex ear conditions
Degree of Hearing Loss?Any degree – hearing aid is programmed to the individual hearing loss profileSelf-perceived mild to moderate
Design?Full-range, including standard and customized optionsLimited: one-size-fits-most
Follow-Up?Follow-up care and instructions provided by a professionalCome with self-guided instructions

Peoria ENT Group believes a hearing aid is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to providing you or your loved one with a hearing solution. Our Doctors of Audiology partner with our Doctors of Medicine to find the very best solution to fit your specific needs and lifestyle. We provide a comprehensive menu of hearing evaluation, selection, fitting & dispensing of hearing aids and assistive devices, counseling, and continued support.

IF A HEARING AID is part of the solution, you can rest assured you will be provided the most advanced technology, the best warranty available, and the longest trial period offered anywhere. We know the products we offer are proven to work in real-life situations with the highest degree of patient satisfaction.

For more information, please visit our website at or call (309) 589-5900.