If you've researched direct-to-consumer and OTC hearing aids, you may have noticed that most brands sell devices by pair. That means you might feel a bit stuck if you have hearing loss in just one ear or prefer a single hearing aid solution. Rest assured; you do have some options.
It's worth noting that most locally fit prescription hearing aids come with an option to purchase just one device. Audiologists often suggest that users try both hearing aids first since they are designed to work as a pair, but in theory, you can purchase just one.
So which OTC and online brands offer single devices?
Only two reputable OTC or direct-to-consumer brands offer single devices at this time.
MD Hearing sells all of their technology levels with one or two devices, BUT they typically run deep discounts for a pair at a time. It might be a better deal to purchase both hearing aids instead of just one.
Your other credible option is Audicus. Audicus is technically not an OTC hearing aid company since they program your hearing aids before shipping them to your home. However, much like OTC hearing aids, you can order devices online at a discount.
Audicus sells single hearing aids in all styles, and the prices generally reflect the difference.
Why are single OTC and direct to consumer hearing aids hard to find?
OTC hearing aids from Bose, Sony, Eargo, and Jabra are priced lower than traditional hearing aids due to their lower levels of hands-on support. Practically that means OTC hearing aids are pre-boxed and ready for shipment. Splitting these hearing aids to send you just one device complicates the flow enough that most brands aren't willing to offer singles.
Should you wear one hearing aid or two?
If you hear better in one ear than the other, it's worth considering whether one or two hearing aids will work best.
Generally speaking, we hear best with two ears, and most people with hearing loss have it in both ears. The one exception is if one ear has sufficient hearing loss to the point that speech is distorting understanding and causing interference with the brain's ability to understand speech in the better ear.
If you haven't tried two hearing aids before, it makes a lot of sense to try two. See how you do with two hearing aids.
Some people find the environmental awareness they get from wearing two hearing aids can be beneficial. Others find that they need to perceive more benefits and wish only to keep one hearing aid.
You can read more about single-sided deafness and the decision between two hearing aids and one here.
Choosing a hearing aid is a very personal decision. While most people choose to wear two hearing aids, you can sometimes get benefit from a single device. If you have questions feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.