SA-2: Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids: An Update


While sometimes assumed to be another Direct-To- Consumer (DTC) hearing aid, Over-The- Counter (OTC) devices are a new category of hearing aid, as designated by the Food and Drug Administration, in the United States.  These devices are meant for use by individuals who have a perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.

Hearing aids (HAs) are regulated devices in Canada. While the FDA doesn’t determine Canadian rules, we can however expect that these products will make their way into our country.  Whether through online ordering, HA tourism, or changes to our regulations, being part of a global economy almost certainly ensures this will happen.

This presentation will dive into the technical performance, and specifications, that the proposed rules have set. The testing standard used is a little different than the methods used for classical HAs. Discussion will center around the pros and cons of these changes.

Individual success will depend on several factors. Will they be able to do the self-selection, and fitting? Are they comfortable with technology in general? As anyone presently involved in this profession knows, success isn’t just about the hardware.

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the difference between DTC and OTC hearing aids.
  2. Analyze the threat, or opportunity, that OTC products represent.
  3. Interpret the technical specifications of OTC hearing aids.
  4. Predict which individuals will benefit from this technology.