There's a good chance you've been inside a CVS in the last month. With almost 10,000 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 300,000 staff, CVS is a giant in healthcare.
In mid-October 2022, CVS added over-the-counter hearing aids to their offering. The move came after the FDA created a new class of hearing aids that could be sold over the counter. The added access across American towns and cities is a big win for lawmakers and consumers.
In this guide, I'm taking a closer look at the brands, processes, and pros and cons you should consider when shopping for hearing aids at CVS.
Let's dig in!
Who will benefit from OTC hearing aids at CVS?
- Budget seekers: OTC hearing aids are appropriate for people who want lower-cost products that they can program at home without the help of an audiologist.
- Simple hearing loss cases: OTC hearing aids are best for those with mild-moderate hearing loss. Take a free hearing test here if you need help determining where you stand.
- Fewer bells and whistles: In general, OTC hearing aids offer fewer premium features and fine-tuning options than prescription devices but also significantly lower prices. We'll get into the various products available below.
Where to find OTC hearing aids at CVS?
If you search for hearing aids on the CVS website or App, you will find two options:
Option #1: Order online and pick up at a local store
Option #2: Order online and have the product shipped to your home
It's unclear exactly how many brick-and-mortar CVS locations carry the physical product. My local store does not offer pickup at this time.
The alternative is a direct purchase on CVS.com. Online shoppers can get free 1-2 day shipping with CVS CarePass (the brand's loyalty program).
Note that shipping, service and support will all be managed directly by that brand and not by CVS. Prices on CVS.com match the standard price on each brand's own website.
Is buying at CVS better than buying directly through an OTC brand? A couple of things to keep in mind:
- CVS offers a 60-day moneyback window (longer than the standard 45 days)
- CVS offers faster shipping or (sometimes) in-store pickup
- You may have an account with CVS which makes checkout easier
All that said, if it were up to me I'd probably opt for direct purchase from the brands below to cut out any middleman confusion.
Does CVS offer hearing tests?
CVS does not offer physical hearing tests in their stores or minute clinics. They do offer an online hearing test (here) which measures your ability to hear in background noise. The results are not that robust.
Which over-the-counter hearing aid brands are available at CVS?
CVS offers seven brands of OTC hearing aids. Each one has a range of products and form-factors. Here's a look at the full lineup. Keep scrolling for a breakdown of each brand.
These products do not allow Bluetooth streaming or significant customization to your hearing loss. You can switch between a few set programs to match your hearing loss.
Go is appropriate for simple situational use, like sitting in front of the TV or having conversations in quiet environments. If you need a hearing aid that you can wear all day or in dynamic situations, you'll probably want to step up to the next level of technology.
Find Go OTC hearing aids at CVS or shop Go directly online.
Bose hearing aids are one of my favorite OTC products on the market. You can choose between B1 with disposable batteries for $849 and B2 with rechargeable batteries for $999. B2 allows Bluetooth streaming for iPhone users.
What sets Bose apart is that you can customize the hearing aids with thousands of combinations using the simple Lexie Hearing app interface.
While traditional products require an audiologist to update your hearing aid program, the Lexie app puts that control in your hands (and smartphone).
Bose formed a strategic partnership with Lexie Hearing (owned by hearX) in the summer of 2022. As a part of that partnership, Lexie now handles all follow-up care for Bose products. Each pair of Bose Hearing aids comes with lifetime care from a Lexie Hearing expert.
Bose is an excellent option if you want solid entry-level hearing aids with enough intelligence to handle background noise.
Find Bose OTC hearing aids at CVS or shop Bose directly online.
Lucid is a trusted name in hearing health and audio in general. They have a 10+ year partnership with Sam's Club and make good quality hearing aids. Lucid's budget-range of products is available at CVS.
I personally recommend Lucid Engage because the device can be customized to match your specific hearing loss with a smartphone app. Enrich has less features and customization options but also come at a lower price. Read my full review of Lucid hearing aids here.
Find Lucid hearing aids at CVS or shop Lucid hearing aids (including rechargeable options) online at Lucid's site.
Hearing assist is a lesser known player in the OTC space but offers a pair of feature-rich products with several customization options.
One big difference between the two Hearing Assist products at CVS is the form factor. Hearing Assist EAZE sits behind the ear while Hearing Assist Connect looks like a pair of AirPods.
Hearing Assist Connect offers more technology with available Bluetooth streaming and a sound customization app. EAZE is simpler and a bit less expensive.
Find Hearing Assist at CVS or on Hearing Assist's site.
RXEars comes from Persona Medical which claims to be the oldest manufacturer of hearing aids in the U.S. RXEars devices have limited customization options and do not offer rechargeable batteries or Bluetooth streaming. For the price, we think there are better options at CVS.
iHear is owned by low-cost manufacturer Innerscope. iHear Explore and iHear Axis both come with rechargeable batteries and 4 pre-set programs + 11 volume levels. The biggest difference between the two devices is that Axis comes with a companion smartphone app that allows for easier volume and program changes. The app does not allow for fine-tuning and does not include an onboard hearing test.
Find iHear at CVS or on the iHear website.
What's the return policy and warranty for CVS OTC hearing aids?
- CVS offers free 60-day returns on all OTC hearing aid products.
- CVS OTC hearing aids also come with a 12-month parts and labor warranty.
Are CVS OTC hearing aids good?
The OTC hearing aids at CVS lack some of the premium features available at a local audiologist, but they are of a reputable quality and come from a well respected company.
If you want all the latest hearing aid technology, or prefer to work with a local doctor I suggest looking at a prescription product like Phonak Audéo Lumity or Oticon Real. Checkout our OTC LIVE Tracker to see the full range of available OTC products.
Have you tried the OTC hearing aids at CVS? I’d love to hear from you—send me a note at [email protected].