Primary File

The Oxymoron of OTC Hearing Aids: Mass Marketization of a Personalized Product

Nikolaus T. Butz, Rachel D. Craig, Todd Decker
December 31, 2018
North America
Strategy & General Management, Ethics & Social Justice, Marketing & Sales
3 pages
decision making, audiology, marketing, industry regulation, ethics, decision making, audiology, marketing, industry regulation, ethics
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.67)
Average rating: 

Hearing loss is a public health concern. Recent national legislation has been passed to introduce a future technological disruptor: over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. When OTC hearing aids become available, there will be numerous benefits and drawbacks that the consumer will need to consider before buying such a device. OTC hearing aids will not need a licensed professional to dispense them to the public, nor will members of the public need to obtain a hearing evaluation prior to purchasing them. Audiology clinics may no longer be able to differentiate themselves from other entities unless a different revenue model is introduced. Furthermore, consumers will need to be educated enough to decide whether or not to buy an OTC hearing aid. There are likely to be important ethical concerns in advertising OTC hearing aids as well. With all this in mind, regulation of future marketing messages in the audiology industry may be required to broaden consumer education and guard against unsubstantiated claims.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Appraise how regulation of marketing messages affects industry competitiveness
  • Assess the types of revenue models that businesses can employ to respond to changing situations
  • Evaluate the relative importance of consumer involvement in selecting products and services



The OTC hearing aids case provided financial benefits for customers who could not afford expensive hearing aids, but the case also provides drawbacks on how attempting to make something for affordable can be more harmful. 


I enjoyed hearing about the OTC hearing aids because it is a lot of people that need hearing aids that may can't afford them. This gives consumers an opportunity to actually hear! They support that the OTC hearing aids will receive will be tremendous. NOW THIS IS CSR!! 


The OTC hearing aids are definitely a good idea because everyone is not able to afford a visit with an audiologist. Yes, the audiologist will lose out on a profit, but sometimes things need to be at the conveince of the customer.


Personally I feel as of OTC hearing aids are a great idea, and while audiologist may loose some business i do not think that the feild will become non existent. People will still need adjustments to their hearing aids, and still need audiologist for the inital hearing screening so they won't be at a total loss. But the case was very clear and presented each side of the issue very well. 


In my opinion, even though the  audiology industry may suffer, I feel that OTC hearing aids are a great idea and was bound to happen eventually. I am one for the freedom of the consumer, and I feel that people shouldn't have to jump through hoops in order to get hearing aids. While I do acknowledge the cons of allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter, I feel that we should just stress the importance of educating our consumers enough for them to make the best decision.