Hearing aids were created to make sounds easier to hear for people diagnosed with hearing loss. Currently, most of the modern hearing aids are powered by digital technology that not only aims to amplify sound but also to enhance speech clarity and reduce feedback.
A few decades ago, hearing aids were only accessible through audiologists in private practice. It was only not long ago that over-the-counter (OTC) were made available in the market. Walmart hearing aids are considered as OTC hearing aids.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are quite new in the hearing aid industry. Just like other OTC items, anyone can easily purchase hearing aids by just visiting a store that sells them - Walmart for instance.
OTC hearing aids can be bought without a prescription or without visiting an audiologist.
From an audiologist’s point of view, OTC hearing aids, like Walmart hearing aids, MAY help adults who have mild to moderate hearing loss. The thing is, OTC hearing aids may not be as effective as hearing aids prescribed in a clinic because of many factors. Think of it as a hit-or-miss purchase.
OTC hearing aids are now available in the market thanks to a federal law passed in 2017 that directed the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the barriers and allow the purchase of hearing aids in several stores.
Walmart hearing aids belong to OTC hearing devices, and are expected to be significantly MORE AFFORDABLE than traditional hearing aids or those devices that are prescribed by audiologists at the clinic.
Walmart hearing aids are available at physical Walmart stores and online at walmart.com. Affordable price tags are always attractive - it’s part of human nature. Walmart hearing aids have very affordable price tags, starting at $40 per device. However, it also has what we call as “premium” hearing aids that may cost at $1,900 a pair.
So, are Walmart hearing aids any good? Probably. The chances of buying Walmart hearing aids that can HELP with hearing loss and purchasing a pair that makes no difference is THE SAME. Buying hearing aids without getting a hearing test or being checked by an audiologist is like playing a crane game filled with stuffed toys - you don’t know if you’re going to be successful or not.
In all fairness to Walmart, they sell hearing aids that are FDA-registered. However, you need to examine Walmart hearing aids that you are planning to purchase because some simply work as inexpensive sound simplifiers. So, CHOOSE wisely.
We can say that the lineup of Walmart hearing aids is a MIX of good and not-so-effective devices. Planning to buy Walmart hearing aids? Then, you need to be able to tell the difference between AFFORDABLE, FDA-REGISTERED hearing aids VS. CHEAP SOUND AMPLIFIERS.
Regular consumers may find it challenging to do so, so they end up doing eenie-minnie-miney-moe when choosing Walmart hearing aids. We highly suggest that you entrust your hearing health journey to a professional audiologist. If you’re in the Rochester, NY area, Ontario Hearing Centers houses a team of audiologists that can efficiently help you with your hearing aid needs.
What we like about Walmart hearing aids is that the store labels them honestly. This means that it will be easier for consumers to look for legitimate hearing aids as they are all labeled as FDA-registered. If you happen to see a pair of Walmart hearing aids with no such label, you know what it means.But let’s say you’ve found a decent pair of Walmart hearing aids with an FDA-registered label. What next? Are you SURE it will HELP you with your hearing loss? This isn't guaranteed. Unless you are an audiologist who knows the ins and outs of hearing aids, purchasing Walmart hearing aids may have some grey areas that will end up NOT addressing your hearing loss needs. Here’s another hack to more or less tell you whether a certain Walmart hearing aid is legitimate or not. Look at the PRICE TAG. This is known to be simple logic that applies to most products. If a device is so low priced, chances are, it may just be a useless piece of plastic. Too often, especially with hearing aid technology, low price=low quality.
HearingAssist is one of the best-selling Walmart hearing aids. Primarily marketed as a device to address mild to moderate hearing loss, HearingAssist has a behind-the-ear design and can switch through different sound scenarios (outdoor, TV, quiet and noisy). Users can toggle the volume dial to get their desired level of amplification as needed.
If we look at the reviews of HearingAssist on walmart.com, it’s clear that it has been getting mixed reviews. The most common negative comments about Walmart hearing aids involve feedback and squealing noises.
FDA-approved at $399.99/pair - meet another popular Walmart hearing aid, the MDHearingAid Air. Walmart markets the MDHearingAid Air as a durable hearing aid specially designed to deal with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.
It has replaceable batteries, smaller size and an affordable price tag compared to its counterparts. When it comes to customer reviews, MDHearingAid Air has a stellar rating, getting 4.8 out of 5, notably higher than HearingAssist. Since it’s cheaper than HearingAssist, this is a good option for consumers on a budget.
Let’s go over the “premium” Walmart hearing aids, the MDHearingAid Core. With a price tag of $999, MDHearingAid Core offers one of the most advanced technologies among Walmart hearing aids. Plus, it also has a smartphone app.
Some of its high-tech features include two directional microphones, smartphone independence, custom settings for unique hearing loss profiles, and hearing test features.
When it comes to hearing aids, Walmart hearing aids may not be the primary brand to enter your mind, right? Generally, Walmart is known for its groceries, home goods, makeup, tools, fishing equipment, etc. Understandably though, more and more big name stores are expanding their reach and offering hearing aids at affordable prices compared to the ones found at hearing clinics. Walmart also has hearing centers that serve as a venue for consumers to explore hearing aid options.
A friendly reminder though - the staff manning Walmart hearing centers may not be certified audiologists. Most of the time, they are just state-licensed dispensers. While it may be a good thing that Walmart is offering AFFORDABLE options to the public, we would suggest that ample research should be done first prior to purchasing Walmart hearing aids.
As audiologists, would we recommend Walmart hearing aids? Well, recommend is quite a strong word. If it were up to us, we would suggest that you set an appointment at a hearing clinic and get a hearing test to discuss the results with hearing aid experts. Going to an audiologist doesn’t mean BIG fees or EXPENSIVE treatment.
Ontario Hearing Centers have a team of audiologists that are not only experts in the field but are also friendly and totally relatable. If you want quality hearing aids but are on a budget, feel free to discuss this with us and we’ll be more than happy to offer you the best solution that will not only address your hearing needs efficiently but will also keep your pockets happy.