No, you do not need a prescription or medical evaluation in order to buy a hearing aid.
The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 created a new class of hearing aids for people aged 18 or older with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss. This makes hearing aids available directly to the consumer without a prescription or medical evaluation.
In accordance with good health practice, MDHearing and the U.S. FDA recommend that a person with hearing loss have a medical evaluation by a licensed audiologist or physician (preferably a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear) before purchasing a hearing aid if you have or think you may have any of the following conditions:
- Visible deformity of the ear
- Fluid or drainage from the ear within the past 90 days
- Sudden, rapidly progressing, or fluctuating hearing loss
- Spells of acute or chronic dizziness
- Hearing loss only on one side that worsened in the past 90 days
- Ear canal blockage, a lasting ear infection or a 'plugged up' fullness feeling
- Excessive wax buildup, or a history of excessive wax buildup
- Pain or discomfort in the ear
- Ringing in one or both ears within last 90 days