Soon, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of Sony’s OTC (over-the-counter) hearing aids at one of HearUSA’s 350 hearing centers or through its online store. Founded in 1987, HearUSA operates a network of retail stores that help consumers directly buy prescription — and now OTC — hearing aids.
Both Sony’s CRE-C10 and CRE-E10 models will be available starting in early 2023, though no firm date was provided. Sony, which has long been a leading headphone maker, first announced it was entering the OTC hearing aid market back in September.
The partnership between HearUSA and Sony isn’t surprising. HearUSA is owned by Denmark’s WS Audiology, which also owns popular hearing aid brands Signia and Widex, among others. It’s also the company Sony partnered with to create both of its OTC hearing aids. Back in October, WS Audiology merged all of its existing hearing care retail brands under the HearUSA name.
It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots here, but there are tangible benefits for consumers. The pro of HearUSA’s retail model is that you can get an in-person hearing assessment with a professional to determine whether you’re a good candidate for OTC hearing aids. (According to the FDA, OTC hearing aids are meant for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.) The brand also helps customers with navigating insurance plans and has a faster overall process to getting a hearing aid. That said, HearUSA’s pricing isn’t the most transparent, though you can easily check Sony’s site to see the C10 is $999.99 and the E10 is $1,299.99.
OTC hearing aids are a nascent category, but Sony and WS Audiology are both brands with solid reputations. At the very least, this may give people somewhere to start.