Are they right for you?

View our Checklist

Are they right for you?

View our Checklist

What are over-the-counter hearing devices?

Are they the solution you’ve been looking for? There are a lot of different hearing devices and technology available, but they don’t all function the same.

When most people think of “hearing aids” they think of a small device to put in their ear that makes sounds louder or amplifies them. But for many people, the answer is not making all sounds louder. Sometimes the answer is more complicated.

One example is the need to change sounds only at specific frequencies. For example, perhaps you can hear low-pitched sounds well, but high-pitch or soft sounds you can hardly hear at all. Amplifiers are not that precise.

Recent FDA regulation changes created two separate classes of hearing aids: over the counter (OTC) hearing aids and prescriptive hearing aids. OTC hearing aids are approved to be direct to consumer in traditional and online retail channels, without the evaluation, recommendation, or assistance of an audiologist. Prescriptive hearing aids still require the evaluation, recommendation, and assistance of an audiologist.

For some patients, over-the-counter hearing devices are an ideal solution. For others, the lower cost of OTC hearing devices can be really attractive, but they might not have the features you need nor the simplicity of use you’re looking for.

But it’s not your job to know all of that, it’s ours.

Doctor pharmacist seller and young african american ethnic woman customer in drugstore. Health care and conceling medication.

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

To help you think through your situation, we developed a simple checklist. If at any point you would rather talk to us about this in person, simply call our office or schedule an appointment. A thorough hearing exam may be the information you need to make an informed decision about the next step toward improving your hearing journey.

View our Checklist

In the checklist you will find these topics and more:

  • Are you experiencing ear pain, active drainage, or balance problems?
  • Do you hear ringing in your ears?
  • Do you have medical conditions that may be related to hearing loss?
  • Are you a proactive learner of technology who knows how to use a smartphone and Bluetooth?
  • Do you need help setting up and adjusting hearing aids?


Does Bloomington Normal Audiology offer over-the-counter hearing devices?

No, we do not offer over-the-counter hearing aids, however we can help you if you need service after you purchase them. If OTC is the best path for you, we can help you with a setup, service, and/or maintenance plan. Contact our office for pricing and how BNA can continue to help you on your hearing journey.


Are some devices rated better than others?

While the FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of hearing aids, they don’t guarantee audio performance nor fact-check their company claims. However the HearAdvisor’s Lab Team, composed of two audiologists and one communications science Ph.D., independently reviewed and rated over 65 types of hearing devices. Take a look at their most up to date list here, and reach out to our office if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to get your hearing tested.

HearAdvisor™ Expert Choice Award Winners


Contact Us

At BNA, our audiologists are doctors trained to check a number of important indicators and then analyze this data to generate your Personal Hearing Profile. This profile describes the current state of your hearing and, based on your results, recommends a personalized set of options in a wide range of technology levels.

If you’d like to learn more before you contact us, follow the links below:

Make an appointment today at either our Bloomington, Illinois or Pontiac, Illinois locations.