Type Size:


Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

OTC hearing aids can help adults with mild to moderate hearing loss who may not need hearing assistance in every listening situation. An OTC hearing aid can enhance speech and improve communication for people who hear well generally but experience occasional difficulty.

Although a diagnostic hearing test is not required, we recommend seeing an audiologist before opting for OTC hearing aids to ensure you choose the best option to address your hearing loss.

To learn more about OTC hearing aids and where to purchase them, please visit https://www.jabraenhance.com/product/enhanceplus/kaiser

What Are OTC Hearing Aids?

The FDA now labels hearing aids traditionally purchased through an audiologist as “prescription hearing aids.”

Compared to prescription hearing aids, OTC devices have limited loudness output and features. Both categories of hearing aids share some of the same features, but the amount of customization, functions, and computer processing varies significantly between them. Additionally, the variety, quality, and functions of OTC hearing aids change weekly as new OTC hearing aids enter the market.

Who Is a Good Candidate for OTC Hearing Aids?

OTC hearing aids are suitable for individuals who generally have good hearing but experience occasional difficulty in hearing and understanding speech. They may offer speech clarity and communication enhancements for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

How Is an OTC Hearing Device Different Than a Prescription Hearing Aid?

  • OTC hearing aids have fewer features, and their performance may not be equivalent to similar prescription devices.
  • OTC devices are self-serve, meaning you will set them up with a smartphone app and make all the adjustments on your own.
  • OTC hearing aids have a shorter warranty period than traditional prescription devices

What Does This Mean for KP Members?

Kaiser Permanente members will be able to purchase hearing aids directly from stores or online retailers without the need for a medical exam, prescription, fitting, or adjustment by an audiologist. These new OTC hearing aids are non-prescription hearing aids and are currently not covered by members’ health plan benefits.

To learn more about OTC hearing aids and where to purchase them, please visit https://www.jabraenhance.com/product/enhanceplus/kaiser

Why Should I See an Audiologist Before Getting an OTC Hearing Aid?

An audiologist is a licensed, certified professional who specializes in helping patients with hearing loss. While OTC devices do not require a diagnostic hearing test, they rely on the consumer to determine if they have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. However, many people cannot accurately assess their degree of hearing loss.

A diagnostic hearing test completed by an audiologist will provide accurate information on the degree and type of hearing loss and help determine if OTC or prescription hearing aids better suit your communication needs or if you need a consultation with an otologist (ear physician). The hearing test can also be useful to self-fit an OTC device or to program a prescription device precisely.

An overwhelming amount of information is available on hearing technologies, and your audiologist can provide clarity and direction to ease you along the path to improved communication.

Can Children Use OTC Hearing Aids?

No, OTC hearing aids are for people over the age of 18. Children have specific needs for prescription hearing aids related to their growth and development. Infants and young children need new custom ear molds as they grow and the size of the ear changes. Children require special techniques a licensed, trained audiologist performs to properly program hearing aids to the correct settings. They also need routine follow-ups to monitor progress and ensure they are meeting speech and language milestones.

I Purchased an OTC device from Jabra and Need Additional Support.

You have 3 options to get additional support:

  1. Through the Jabra Enhance App: After pairing your earbuds, personalizing your profile, and registering the product, you can access support tools. Click Support and Guides from the menu within the app for answers to common questions, troubleshooting your device, compatibility, and more.
  2. Jabra Help Section of Jabra.com: You can access support by clicking the link. Jabra Enhance Plus | Jabra Support.
  3. Call the dedicated team at Jabra Support: at (833) 346-1603

How Do I Return or Exchange My Device?

If you aren’t satisfied with your purchase or think your OTC hearing device isn’t working properly, visit the website or call Jabra, and they will help you resolve the issue.

I Purchased an OTC Device but Would Like to Try Prescription Hearing Aids Instead

If you want to work with a licensed hearing professional to obtain prescription hearing aids, please visit KPHearingCenters.com for your local Kaiser Permanente Hearing Aid Center contact information. They can schedule a time with a provider to complete a comprehensive hearing test and provide a personalized recommendation.

The Hearing Aid Process

In just 5 simple steps, KP makes it easy to get your perfect hearing aid.

Questions About Using Existing Benefits on OTC Hearing Aids

How is the new FDA ruling different than existing hearing aid plan benefits?

These are non-prescription hearing aids. As such, they are not benefitted services, and members do not need an exam, prescription, fitting, or adjustment by an audiologist to purchase these OTC hearing aids. 

In contrast, before receiving benefitted prescription hearing aids, audiologists conduct hearing exams to determine the precise level of hearing loss, write a prescription, and determine the best treatment method. This level of review does not occur with OTC Hearing Aids.

OTC hearing aids are meant to address mild to moderate hearing impairment, unlike prescribed hearing aids, which address all degrees of hearing loss.

What if a member already has a hearing aid benefit? Can members use their existing hearing aid benefits on OTC hearing aids?

No, the new OTC hearing aids are not a covered, benefitted service, so members cannot apply any existing benefits toward the purchase of the new OTC hearing aids.

However, members with HRA, FSA, or HSA funds can use them to purchase OTC hearing aids.

Can Durable Medical Equipment benefits be used to cover OTC hearing aid products?


Can HRA, FSA, or HSA funds be used to purchase OTC hearing aid products?


Member Issues

What happens if a member has issues with their OTC hearing aids, such as pairing and connecting to their iPhone, not charging, etc.?

Members should contact Jabra directly for help with these issues and questions. Members can contact Jabra Support at (833) 346-1603.

Can members bring OTC hearing aid products into Kaiser Permanente Hearing Aid Centers for help with fitting, adjustment, etc.?

No, Kaiser Permanente are unable to support the OTC devices. Instead, Members should contact Jabra support directly at (833) 346-1603 for help with these issues/questions.

To learn more about OTC hearing aids and where to purchase them, please visit https://www.jabraenhance.com/product/enhanceplus/kaiser

Find the Hearing Center Near You