According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, fewer than one in three (30 percent) adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids have actually never bothered to use them.
This bit of statistics, coming from such a reputable source ensures great cause for concern – especially given the fact that by age 65, one out of three Seniors experiences one form of hearing loss or another.
The above paragraphs, taken and understood together mean one thing and one thing alone: as a Senior, hearing challenge is (almost) inevitable at a certain age, and when that age comes by, hearing aids are your best chance at normal hearing.
However, traditional hearing aids are at the moment, quite expensive – with many actually costing thousands of hard-earned dollars!
Now, as a Senior or an elderly person, if you cannot afford that type of money (which even after spending does not always guarantee ideal hearing), what are the alternative you have?
One basically: over-the-counter (non-prescription) hearing aids and amplifiers.
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What Are OTC Hearing Amplifiers?
Over-the-counter hearing aids or amplifiers are small pieces of hearing gadgets that are either insertable in the ear or pieces of hearing technology that go over the ear to assist those who have hearing challenges to hear better.
These hearing aids, it must be noted, are essentially not different from the models that are prescribed by either your doctor or audiologist.
The cardinal difference between the two however rests in the fact that over-the-counter amplifiers are branded non-prescriptive because you do not need the medical advice of a doctor/audiologist or their prescription to buy one.
As a matter of fact, they are typically bought right ‘off the counter’ – and can be used immediately.
The Bill that was passed to create room for these special type of hearing aids was overseen by the 115th Congress of the US – and was signed into law in August 2017 by President Donald Trump.
How Effective Are Over The Counter Hearing Amplifiers For Seniors & The Elderly?
Before now, the standard procedure for Seniors and the elderly (who had challenges with their hearing) was to be prescribed hearing aids by an audiologist.
Unfortunately, these hearing aids were (and still are) insanely expensive – with many options being way more than $5000!
Over-the-counter hearing aids have, on the other hand, completely changed the game and altered the way we all look at hearing aids – especially as relates to helping Seniors and the elderly overcomes their respective hearing challenges.
These new generations of OTC hearing amplifiers achieve for less than $1000 with many models selling for way under $100 🙂
With the discrepancy in price, it is normal to be scared as a Senior citizen and wonder if what you’re buying is the real deal. After all, it is always argued that by and large, you get what you pay for 🙂
This is what prompted the Chicago Tribune to take a second look and see if indeed there exist any difference in the hearing ability of Seniors who use OTC hearing aids/amplifiers versus those who rely on expensive, audiologist-recommended options.
The findings and conclusions of the reputable media outfit is baffling – and surprising at the same time.
It held that overall, over-the-counter hearing aids and amplifiers hold their own against expensive audiologist-recommended options.
This means that, opting for an expensive option and expecting to get better results because the units are expensive isn’t necessarily a smart idea.
You may even be wasting your money in the long run, the findings suggest.
Having seen that OTC hearing amplifiers are as good and effective as the more expensive audiologist options that largely cost an arm and a limb, let’s take a look at whether these hearing aids sold over the counter are safe.
Are Non-Prescription Hearing Aids Safe?
As a Senior or an elderly person – safety is naturally paramount to you (as it should rightly be).
This is why, before you expend any amount of money on something, you’ll love to appreciate the fact that such an expense is for something that is actually safe.
In the instant case of OTC hearing amplifiers, it is thus natural to wonder if these units are safe for you.
The US Congress passed The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 recently which in part read:
This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to categorize certain hearing aids as over-the-counter hearing aids and issue regulations regarding those hearing aids. The regulations for over-the-counter hearing aids must: (1) provide reasonable assurances of safety and efficacy; (2) establish output limits and labeling requirements; and (3) describe requirements for the sale of hearing aids in-person, by mail, or online, without a prescription.
The Bill was promptly signed into law by President Donald Trump.
What this means is that, OTC hearing amplifiers and aids for the elderly are now directly under the watch of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and all such aids/amplifiers will hence, be produced according to the specifications of the agency.
To conclude this section, as far as safety goes, over-the-counter hearing aids or amplifiers are completely safe for you either as a Senior or an elderly person since their production, marketing, and sale are directly monitored by a federal agency in the US.
Having cleared the preliminary issues, let’s now take a look at these hearing amplifiers themselves, directly.
Best Over The Counter Hearing Aids/Amplifiers For Seniors & The Elderly
1. LifeEar Boost Hearing Amplifier
Not many Seniors and the elderly appreciate advertising the fact that they are wearing hearing aids or amplifiers.
Many aged users of this tech prefer to have and use units that are small and completely undetected when worn and actively used.
If you’re a Senior or an elderly person that the above paragraphs describe, then, the LifeEar Boost Hearing Amplifier is what you should pay close attention to at the moment.
Designed in a very thin manner that hardly catches the attention of others, this OTC hearing amplifier engineered and designed by both doctors and audiologists enables you to rejoin the conversation and catch sounds that had previously eluded you as a Senior citizen: quiet sounds, whispers and the chirps of the birds right from the faraway forests.
Ensuring that you do not pay $5000 or more just to hear better, the LifeEar Boost Hearing Amplifier deploys a powerful 12-band digital processor that ensures a precise boost of the frequency associated with the human voice.
This makes certain that you pick up all manner of sounds in their respective variation and importantly, are also able to personalize your amplifier to suit your environment by means of the 4 distinct programs inbuilt with each suited for a particular situation you may find yourself in.
With an awesome and impressive warranty that spans 12 good months, who says that clearer conversations must cost you an arm or your entire pension as a Senior citizen?
- Doctor and audiologist designed. The unit, therefore, deploys all the benefits of the more expensive hearing aids available in the market today.
- Ready to be used right out of the box.
- 30 day money back guarantee.
- Pencil thin size: this hearing amplifier is barely noticeable when used.
- 4 programmed bands that suit virtually any scenario you may find yourself in as an elderly user.
- Single switch control for volume and program selection/control.
- Available in multiple colors that you get to choose according to your favorite color, skin color or general preference.
- 12-month comprehensive warranty.
- If you are a careless Senior (who is likely to drop the unit or if you handle things pretty poorly overall), this may not be the best option for you as it is less tolerant of abuses.
- This OTC hearing amplifier works best for mild-medium hearing challenges.
You should take a look at the LifeEar Boost Hearing Amplifier on Amazon yourself.
2. Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier
Not all Seniors and elderly persons appreciate using things that are not fashionable.
As a matter of fact, there are some Seniors who sincerely appreciate their devices smart, cute and good-looking.
If you’re such a Senior and will appreciate a very affordable OTC hearing amplifier for your hearing needs, the Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier is an option that you should take a close look at, given its practical nature and the fact that the unit is very affordable – even if you’re on a tight budget.
Very small and practically invisible to friends and those who you’ll have interactions with when you use it, the Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier is very stylish and completely adjustable – lending itself to be used in either ear as the need actually arises.
What this means is simple: sometimes, you may prefer to use the hearing aid in another ear as against the one which you’re currently making use of.
In such a situation, a minor twisting and adjustment will suffice, ensuring that the left ear plug (for instance) can also be smartly and intelligently used for the right ear too.
What truly makes this OTC hearing aid suitable for you as a Senior or an elderly person is the fact that it has an impressive battery that lasts well over 500 hours on a single charge!
With such an impressive battery, it is easy to see that you’ll be charging your unit, on average, once a week – if you use the gadget frequently.
In the event of infrequent or occasional use, your over-the-counter hearing amplifier will brilliantly hold a charge for upwards of an entire month!
Coupled with the digital noise cancellation this hearing amplifier ensures, it is our professional opinion that it is truly suited for you as an aged user.
- FDA approved.
- Doctor and audiologist designed.
- Very impressive battery that lasts upwards of 500 hours on a single charge.
- Built with a digital chip and frequency control to adapt easily for different sound environments.
- Stylish design that will certainly appeal to your sense of aesthetics.
- Small size that largely goes unnoticeable when in use.
- Adjustable – and can be used in either ear as the need or occasion actually calls for.
- Digital noise cancellation.
- Easy 1 finger operation.
- 1 year warranty.
- This unit is not ideal for athletes or others who live a very active or tedious lifestyle.
- For Seniors or elderly persons with either very large or very small ear openings, this unit may not be a great fit.
You should take a look at the Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier on Amazon yourself.
3. NewEar BTE High-Quality Digital Ear Hearing Amplifier
Not all hearing aids (whether over the counter or not) are actually accommodating of various ear sizes in the population.
If as a Senior or an elderly person, you have had cause to use any hearing aid in the past, you’ll instantly understand what we’re trying to convey here.
Unfortunately, the majority of the manufacturers of hearing aids believe that one size – actually does fit all users.
This thinking flaw that often transmits into a design/manufacture shortcoming ensures that when you buy an over-the-counter hearing aid, its actual fitting and the fact that it will not fall off your ear when in use is largely left to chance.
If the above has been one of your challenge as a Senior or if you fear this reality, then, you should try the NewEar BTE High Quality Digital Ear Hearing Amplifier as a Senior and see a clear difference.
Designed with 3 different earplugs that are of different sizes, the chances of having your OTC hearing amplifier popping out or worse, not fitting you is actually completely none existent.
As a Senior, you’ll also love the noise canceling feature of this hearing aid that ensures that background noises are eliminated, leaving you with a clarity of sound/voices that is rare, even for very expensive options that cost well into the thousands of dollars.
For you as a Senior or an elderly person, you’ll also appreciate the fact that this unit is rechargeable – and ensures that you don’t actually need to keep up with the expense of buying batteries all the time.
However, the most important feature of this model that made us really recommend it for you as a Senior user is the fact that it comes engineered with a rugged drop-tested shell – a feature that ensures that if you mistakenly drop the unit (which is highly probable, given your age), you’ll have nothing to worry about – and it will still work in the most brilliant of fashions.
- Rugged drop-tested shell that ensures rare durability.
- Customized ear plugs that are guaranteed to fit into any ear type.
- Fast charging that ensures you get to use the amplifier sooner than later after its battery is expended.
- Low power consumption.
- Ensures brilliant and effective noise cancellation.
- Can be used with reading glasses.
- Some customers do not like these earplugs because they are a little bigger than other brands available in the market.
- Other users, especially those that use the device round the clock are of the opinion that the unit could be engineered to retain power more.
You should take a look at the NewEar BTE High-Quality Digital Ear Hearing Amplifier on Amazon yourself.
4. Otofonix Personal Digital Hearing Sound Amplifier
Some Seniors and elderly persons have complained severally that when using hearing aids, they sometimes do not hear voices in their right or appropriate pitch – especially if such a voice is altered.
While these complaints are few and far between, for those who are affected by it, the pain and frustration is real.
If you’re such a Senior or are looking to avoid such a scenario when you eventually purchase your hearing aid, then, your best bet is the Otofonix Personal Digital Hearing Sound Amplifier.
Assembled and ready to be worn straight out of the box, this OTC hearing amplifier offers 10 volume levels and 4 preset memory programs and is easily adjusted with just one finger.
What this boils down to is that, you can easily tune your hearing amplifier either up or down as an elderly user and listen to sounds as they reach your ear with the greatest precision that will make even those who are not relying on technology to process sounds jealous – all with just a swift and quick movement of the finger.
Designed to offer excellent digital noise reduction and an awesome 12-band digital sound processing, this hearing aid brilliantly rivals other more expensive models available in the market for upwards of 5 times the cost this unit is sold for.
However, the most impressive feature that makes it an impressive deal closer for Seniors and the elderly is the fact that buying this hearing aid also gives you access, as a Senior to free live phone technical support.
Professionally, we can authoritatively tell you that this free technical phone support and the fact that the unit comes with an impressive 1-year warranty remains its most impressive attributes that will certainly make you thoroughly enjoy its use as a Senior or an elderly user.
- 12 band digital sound processing that allows for better hearing – irrespective of the setting you find yourself in as a Senior.
- Free live phone technical support to handle any issues you may have with using the aid.
- Digital noise reduction brilliantly works to enhance sound clarity by eliminating background noise.
- 10 volume setting.
- Ready to wear straight out of the box.
- 30-day hassle-free return period (in the unlikely event that you do not like the hearing amplifier).
- I year manufacturer’s warranty.
- While the tiny nature of the unit is loved by others, other customers prefer something a little bigger.
- This amplifier does not work for cases of extreme hearing challenges.
You should take a look at the Otofonix Personal Digital Hearing Sound Amplifier on Amazon yourself.
5. Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier With Noise Cancelling Technology
Sometimes, as a Senior citizen or one who is relying on a pension, the warranty of what you intend to buy is the singular most persuasive metric that will either see that you buy or ignore something, especially online.
If the above describes the type of Senior or elderly person that you are, the Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier With Noise Cancelling Technology will certainly be the best option for you so far as OTC hearing amplifiers are concerned.
The hearing amplifier comes with an impressive warranty that beats all the previous models mentioned and discussed above: the warranty covers an impressive 2 whole years!
Designed with the latest noise canceling technology in the market at the moment, this hearing aid is advertised to work and ensure that you clearly hear sounds and conversations even when there is a lot of background noise – for instance, in traffic.
However, there are some other functions and features that this unit sports that made us include it here in the first place.
One of such functions is the 8-volume adjustment that ensures that you hear exactly what’s going on around you by simply increasing or reducing the volume – exactly as demanded to take charge and importantly, get ‘wind’ of your environment or hear better during a conversation, what is said to you.
To cap up, the manual tube adjustment of the unit ensures that 1 unit can easily be worn either in the right or left ear as occasion actually demands.
Isn’t this the height of flexibility and power?
And to imagine it comes for a fraction of the cost traditional models are sold for in the market!
- 2-year warranty! This ensures perfect rest/peace of mind.
- Manual tube adjustment that makes it possible to use one unit for either ear.
- 8 volume adjustments that ensure clarity of sounds received.
- 2 program selections that ensure you actually tune in to the frequency that suits your environment.
- First-grade noise canceling that facilitates near-perfect reception.
- Some customers would have preferred that this unit be smaller.
- Less tech-savvy elders and Seniors usually take a bit longer to figure out how to use this hearing amplifier on a daily basis.
You should take a look at the Otofonix Personal Digital Hearing Sound Amplifier on Amazon yourself.
What To Look Out For When Buying Over The Counter Hearing Aids For Seniors
Now that we’ve shown you the best OTC hearing amplifiers for Seniors and the elderly, let’s now show you exactly what to look out for when shopping for these aids.
Note however that, if you’re buying any of the suggested models above, this section does not apply – as we’ve done all the hard work for you by ensuring that we pick and review only models that actually comply with the criteria listed below.
However, if you’re considering a different option, say on Amazon for instance, kindly make recourse to these tips.
- Make certain that the unit you’re buying comes with an impressive warranty. Usually, 1 year is standard but more years are always better 🙂
- Ensure that the battery life of your over-the-counter hearing aid is smart and can last at least for 48 full hours without the need for a recharge.
- It is encouraged to look for a model that is discreet; a unit that will not go out of its way to advertise the fact that you’re wearing an aid that assists you with hearing.
- Opting for a model with background noise canceling is a smart thing to do – if you’re to hear sounds and voices around you perfectly.
- Finally, ensure that the model you settle for has an adjustable volume control. This will help you smartly take charge of your hearing in a manner even those who rely on their direct ears will have a hard time catching up.
Let’s now wrap up 🙂
Conclusion: An OTC Hearing Aid Is Way Better And Helpful To You As A Senior Than You Hitherto Imagined Or Thought
Generally, most Seniors and elderly persons (especially the ones we have spoken with or had cause to interact with) are generally skeptical of an over-the-counter hearing aid.
These Senior citizens and elderly ones usually have the wrong notion that the more expensive hearing aids recommended by an audiologist will certainly serve them better – especially in the long run.
However, that fear is unfounded and not medically backed as this article proves.
As a matter of fact, there is ample evidence (found in the link immediately above) that OTC hearing aids/amplifier consistently hold their own against their more expensive cousins costing thousands of dollars.
What is more – the FDA now regulates OTC hearing aids and most of such units are actually designed by audiologists working in close harmony with doctors.
As a Senior, nothing could be better to know – especially when you’re on a budget 🙂
When are you getting your smart OTC amplifier to enhance the quality of your hearing?
Happy shopping 🙂