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OTC Hearing Aids with Bluetooth

November 10, 2023
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff

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As an audiologist, I often receive requests from my patients for hearing aids that come with Bluetooth capability. And it's not surprising given the convenience it offers. With Bluetooth, you can effortlessly stream audio from your phone, tablet, or even your TV directly to your hearing aids. In today's world where people are more connected than ever before, it's crucial to have devices that meet those needs. However, not every over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid device comes with Bluetooth capability, so it's essential to know what to look for when selecting the right device for you.

Hearing healthcare models

Why Choose OTC

People often choose over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for several reasons. Primarily, they are significantly more affordable than prescription hearing aids while still offering a range of features to improve hearing. OTC devices are readily available and can be purchased without the need for a doctor's appointment or fitting, offering convenience for the user. OTC hearing aids also cater to mild to moderate hearing loss, which encompasses a large number of individuals with hearing difficulties. They offer flexibility with adjustable settings, allowing users to adjust the device according to their personal comfort.

Pros

  1. Affordability: OTC hearing aids are generally less expensive than prescription devices, making them a viable option for many people.
  2. Accessibility: These devices can be purchased over-the-counter without a doctor's appointment or a fitting session.
  3. Flexibility: Most OTC hearing aids come with adjustable settings, allowing users to tailor the device to their comfort and hearing needs.

Cons

  1. Limited Scope: OTC hearing aids are designed to cater to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. Those with severe hearing loss may not benefit from these devices.
  2. Lack of Customization: Unlike prescription hearing aids, which are tailored to the specific needs of each patient, OTC aids may not fit perfectly or provide the precise amplification needed.
  3. Risk of Overamplification: Without proper guidance on how to use and adjust the settings, users might set the sound level too high or not adequately address their hearing loss. Note that the FDA does set reasonable limits on OTC devices.

While OTC devices can help users with mild to moderate hearing loss, there may be other features that users want aside from amplification. Most of us own a pair of headphones and are used to listening to audio through Bluetooth, so it might be easy to assume that an electronic device in the ear can do the same thing, right?

Bluetooth - prescription device offering vs. OTC options

Some OTC Devices Have Bluetooth

Unlike prescription hearing aids, which often come with a host of advanced features including Bluetooth, not all OTC hearing aids offer this functionality. This can be frustrating for those who enjoy the convenience of wirelessly streaming audio from their devices. While these devices offer hearing help, they differ from their prescription counterparts in a few ways. They are less sophisticated in background noise handling, offer fewer fine-tuning controls, and don't always include Bluetooth.

If you're specifically looking for this feature, it's crucial to carefully examine the product before making a purchase. Opt for OTC hearing aids that clearly state they have integrated Bluetooth “streaming” technology to ensure your hearing aid can meet your connectivity needs.

Secondly, consider the battery life of OTC hearing aids with Bluetooth. These devices consume more power since they are continually streaming audio. Therefore, you need to select devices that have extended battery life. Some models available can last up to 20 hours, making them ideal for all-day use.

Thirdly, the comfort of the device is essential. OTC hearing aids with Bluetooth come in different shapes and sizes, and you want to select one that is comfortable to wear for long periods. Some devices come in a behind-the-ear style while others are a more earbud-like style. Consider which style you prefer and if it will fit comfortably in your ear.

Lastly, ensure that the device is compatible with your devices. Different OTC hearing aids come with different connectivity options, so it's essential to check compatibility with your specific phone before purchasing. Some may only connect to iPhone, certain models of phones, or require additional accessories for streaming capabilities. It’s best to do thorough research before you buy to get the best option for you.

Our Top Picks

Behind-the-ear style

Sennheiser All-Day Clear

The Sennheiser all-day clear OTC hearing aid is manufactured by the same group that creates the Phonak hearing aids, which are known for their advanced features and high-quality sound. As such, the Sennheiser hearing aid shares some of the same features and benefits. It also offers customizable settings, allowing users with mild to moderate hearing loss to adjust settings to their individual hearing needs.

Sennheiser OTC hearing aids
Sennheiser All Day Clear
Affordable and Rechargeable

Sennheiser All Day Clear

Sennheiser All Day Clear

$999 / pair
Listen to a demo
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Affordable
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
OTC
Bluetooth (Android and iPhone)

In August 2023, Sennheiser unveiled a new OTC hearing aid expected to compete with industry leaders like Bose, Sony, and Jabra. Sennheiser All-Day Clear is a full-featured hearing aid with Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calls (both Android and iPhone, an onboard hearing test, and easy to use app.

Our team tested All-Day Clear and compared it with Sonova's flagship brands - Phonak and Unitron. Our verdict? All-Day Clear has a few missing bells and whistles (more on that below), but the differences are not dealbreakers. The perfect candidate for All-Day Clear has mild-to-moderate hearing loss, is comfortable using a smartphone, and wants Sonova-made technology for a budget price.

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Sennheiser online or at a local retailer
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ If you need further adjustments, Sennheiser's technical team and give you some technical advice, but is not highly trained in hearing health matters.
  • Overall notes: Based on our reviews, this hearing aid is the most complete offering in the over-the-counter market so far.
  • Price: $999 for All-Day Clear with complimentary setup care through Soundly
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Streaming for iPhone and Android users, Excellent Programming app, Behind-The-Ear Style
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Pros

Underlying technology and sound-processing from Sonova (top global manufacturer)

Self-fitting using the Sennheiser app

Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and Android

Cons

Customer support is limited to tech troubleshooting Vs. health advice

Only comes in one color scheme

More expensive than some other OTC competitors

Read our Full Sennheiser Review 👉
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Telecare Option

Jabra Enhance Select

Are you looking for a telecare option? Jabra Enhance Select OTC hearing aids have Bluetooth functionality, which conveniently also allows the hearing aids to be programmed remotely by an audiologist. Some hearing aid wearers prefer this telecare option over in-person care, as they can schedule their visits from the comfort of their homes. Instead, your audiologist can make the necessary changes directly to your hearing aids via a secure connection. This remote fine-tuning service adds another level of customization and convenience to your hearing aid experience. Jabra Enhance Select OTC hearing aids ensure your hearing care is always optimal and tailored to your individual needs, no matter where you are.

Jabra Enhance Select Hearing Aids
Jabra Enhance Select
Best Overall Value

Jabra Enhance Select

Jabra Enhance Select

$1,195 - $1,995 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
Professional Fitting

Jabra Enhance Select hearing aids are made by the world's 4th largest hearing aid manufacturer (ReSound). Jabra Enhance (originally called Lively) made a name for itself by recreating the full-service audiology service online.

Instead of requiring you to come into their office, Jabra reduces the cost by programming remotely and shipping to your home.

All Jabra products come with a 100-day return policy and 3 years of unlimited remote care. You can find the same product for sale at a local clinic for around $4,500.

Get started by filling out Jabra's online survey via the right-hand corner of their website.

  • Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are on a budget, and want a hearing professional to program your hearing aids to match your hearing loss, this is one of the most compelling products on the market.
  • Price: $1,395 for a pair of battery-powered - $1,695 for a pair of rechargeable, $1,995 for enhanced sound quality
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “Their audiologists can personalize and program Jabra hearing aids in real-time; highlighting the benefits of telehealth and competent professionals.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

One of the most affordable and convenient ways to purchase online while maintaining professional care

Comes with a 100 day free-return period

Offers rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming

Cons

Remote care requires users to be somewhat tech savvy

Jabra only offers styles that sit behind the ear

Get Jabra Enhance Select prices and details 👉
See Price

Most Affordable

Lexie B2

The Lexie B2 by Bose is a rechargeable Over-The-Counter (OTC) hearing aid that boasts Bluetooth ability for iPhone users. The device features a comfortable and discreet design that sits behind the ear, ensuring it's comfortable to wear throughout the day. What we like about the Lexie B2 is its user-friendly Smartphone app, allowing users to personalize their sound settings to their specific hearing needs. Adjustments in the app include treble, bass, and volume adjustments.

Image of Bose rechargeable hearing aids
Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose
Affordable and Rechargeable

Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose

Lexie B2+ Powered By Bose

$999 / pair
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
OTC
Bluetooth (iPhone Only)

In July 2022 Bose formed a strategic partnership with Lexie (a well respected hearing healthcare company) to release Lexie B1 hearing aids. In October they released a second model with rechargeable batteries. Then in May 2023 they added Bluetooth streaming capabilities for iPhone users. In January 2024 Lexie released a new and improved charger. Constant improvement on an already great product - we love to see it.

Lexie B1 and Lexie B2+ hearing aids are self-fit using an innovative app that allows hearing aid wearers to fit, program, and control their hearing aids with clinically proven, audiologist-quality results. Purchase B1 hearing aids for $849 or rechargeable B2+ hearing aids for $999 (compare models here).

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Bose online or at a local retailer
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ If you need further adjustments, Lexie has a team of licensed professionals who can make remote updates or provide technical advice.
  • Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are comfortable with smartphone tech, and are on a budget, Bose is one of the most compelling products available.
  • Price: $849 for a pair of B1 hearing aids, $849 for a pair of B2 hearing aids or $999 for a pair of B2+ hearing aids
  • Features: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Streaming for iPhone users, Programming app, Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “One of the simplest to use OTC hearing aids, at a very competitive price. A solid option for those who want to self-manage their mild to moderate hearing loss.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

Strong underlying technology

Self-fitting using the Lexie app

Affordable and rechargeable

Cons

Bluetooth for iPhone only  

Only comes in one color

Costs $150 more than disposable battery version

More Reviews + The Latest Pricing and Discounts 👉
See Price

Earbud style

Sony CRE-E10

The Sony CRE-E10 OTC hearing aid is an earbud-style device that sits comfortably in the ear and comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, making it the perfect solution for iPhone users who want to stream audio right to their hearing device. The fact that it’s earbud-style means that many users find it comfortable for situational use. Its ergonomic design ensures a secure fit, so you won’t have to worry about it falling out of your ear while you’re on the move.

Sony CRE-E10 Hearing Aids in hand
Sony CRE-E10 Hearing Aids
Headphone Hearing Aid Crossover

Sony CRE-E10 Hearing Aids

Sony CRE-E10 Hearing Aids

$1,299 / pair
Affordable
In the Ear
Rechargeable
Bluetooth

Sony teamed up with WS Audiology (the second-largest hearing company in the world) to co-create its products. Sony's CRE-E10 is slightly larger than CRE-C10 but comes with a slick headphone-like design, rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming (currently only available for iOS).

This hearing aid offers prescription-grade sound quality controlled through your smartphone at home (no doctor involved). Sony's hearing aids were released in mid-October and reviews have been glowing. We expect CRE-E10 to be a leading consideration among people looking for a headphone/hearing aid hybrid.

  • How it works:
    ✔️ Start by purchasing Sony hearing aids online (likely coming to brick-and-mortar stores soon)
    ✔️ Once the product arrives at your home, you'll download the Sony Hearing Control app and self-program the hearing aids to match your hearing loss.
    ✔️ Use the app to make real-time volume and sound quality adjustments.
    ✔️ If you need customer support, you can contact Sony's customer service team.
  • Price: $1,399 on Amazon
  • Features: Self-fit using an app, Bluetooth streaming enabled for iPhone, stylish earbud design.
Pros

Rechargeable

Modern design

Self-fit at home

Cons

Not compatible with Android

More visible than smaller options

Likely less comfortable for all-day wear

Shop CRE-E10 On Amazon 👉
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Conclusion

With so many options, the world of OTC hearing aids can seem overwhelming at first, but there's a perfect fit out there for everyone. It's all about understanding your unique needs and what options there are. While not all OTC hearing aids come with Bluetooth capability, the Sennheiser All-Day Clear, Jabra Enhance Select, Lexie B2, or Sony CRE-E10, can provide you with the connectivity you desire and require in today's digitized world. It's essential to consider battery life, comfort, and compatibility when selecting the right option. Remember, the goal is not just to improve your hearing but also to enhance your quality of life. With the right OTC hearing aid, you can stay connected with the world around you without sacrificing comfort.

Frequently asked questions

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