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Walmart Hearing Aids: A Full Review with Independent Lab Ratings for Features, Performance, Prices, and Value Ratings

Walmart offers a large selection of OTC hearing aids. Here's what the HearAdvisor independent lab says about the performance and value you'll get from the 24 Walmart hearing aids tested.
Expert review by Abram Bailey, AuD
Full OTC hearing aid product lines at Walmart

The HearAdvisor independent lab tested 24 products that you can find at Walmart for both performance and value.

Have you ever wondered about the over-the-counter hearing aids sold at big box retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and pharmacy chains? Do they offer similar benefits as the $5,000+ hearing aids provided by audiologists and other hearing care providers at private practices and clinics? Are any of them any good or worth the price?

To address these questions, we rigorously tested the top-selling OTC hearing aids at Walmart in a state-of-the-art acoustic lab and compared their overall performance and pricing. The results might just surprise you: There are indeed some commendable OTC hearing aid options at Walmart, but there are also some that might not meet your expectations—even for the lower price.

In this article, I'll give you an overview of Walmart's hearing aids, rank them in terms of features, performance, and value based on our lab test results, and also suggest some specific products in categories that consumers prize most.

Walmart Storefront

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world with over 4,600 stores in the United States and more than 5,400 Walmart Internationals. Its online business is said to account for more than 13% of its total sales.

Ranking of all Walmart devices tested

We tested a total of 24 over-the-counter hearing aids listed as “Best Sellers” on Walmart.com. This review combined our hands-on experience with objective audio performance data from HearAdvisor, an independent hearing aid test lab based in Rockford, Ill, offering you a comprehensive comparison of hearing devices.

In the table below, you'll find a list of all the devices we tested and how they compared to one another ranked by our Value score. While I explain all the scores in greater detail below, you should know that the SoundScore is an overall rating of acoustic performance based on five different sound-quality metrics under two different conditions. What does that mean? You can think of the SoundScore as how well the hearing aid performs acoustically, regardless of its cost. In contrast, the Value score considers what consumers generally think of as the device's most important features in relation to its price.

If you have a flexible budget, we recommend paying more attention to the SoundScore or even considering a more expensive professionally dispensed prescription hearing aid. However, if you’re on a tighter budget, the Value score should be your focus. All measures are ranked on a 5-point scale for your convenience.

Product Price Overall Value SoundScore Build Quality Battery Bluetooth App Features Pro Support Comfort Design Handling
Lexie B2 $999 4.2 3.87 4.6 4.6 4 3 4 2 5 5 5
Sony CRE-E10 $998 4.2 3.84 5 4.9 4.4 3 3.5 1 4 5 5
Lucid Engage $549 3.9 3.75 4.5 3.5 3.4 4 3.5 2 4.5 4 4.5
Jabra 50R $1,195 4.1 3.75 3.8 5 3.9 4 4.5 3 5 4.5 4.5
HP Hearing Pro $499 3.7 3.59 3.7 4.1 2.7 5 4.3 1 4 4.5 5
Jabra Enhance Plus $799 3.6 3.38 3.8 4.4 3.3 3 3.5 1 4 5 5
BlaidsX Neuro $799 3.4 3.16 3 4.3 4.6 2 4 2 4 4 4.5
Sony CRE-C10 $798 3.4 3.1 4.1 4.7 4.3 2.5 1 4 5 3.5
RxEars Rx8 $499 3.2 3.08 4 3.6 4.3 2.8 1 3.5 4 4.2
Lexie Lumen $799 3.3 2.99 3.7 4.3 4.3 3.8 1 3.5 4 4
iHear MatriX $499 3.1 2.91 3.3 3.6 4 3.5 1 3.5 3.9 4.5
Blaids BlaidsX Pro $549 3 2.87 3.3 3.5 4.3 3.8 1 3.5 4 4
HearingAssist Control $549 3 2.82 3 3.8 3.4 3.8 1 4 4 4.5
Lucid Enrich Pro $199 2.8 2.77 3.7 3.3 4.3 1 3.5 3.5 3.5
Go Hearing Go Prime $299 2.7 2.66 3 4.2 4 1 3.5 4 4
RxEars Rxi $499 2.8 2.65 3.7 3.3 4.3 1 3.5 3.5 3.5
GoHearing Ultra $499 2.8 2.63 2.1 3.7 4 5 1 3 3.5 4
HearingAssist Eaze $399 2.4 2.35 3.1 3.1 3.2 1 3 3.5 3.8
BlaidsX Micro CIC $499 2.5 2.34 2.7 3.5 4.3 1 3.5 3.5 3.5
HearingAssist Micro $698 2.6 2.33 3.5 2.4 4.3 1 3 3 3.5
EarCentric EX2 $218 2.3 2.25 2 3.9 3.2 1 3.5 3.5 4.2
Audien Atom Pro 2 $289 2.2 2.19 1.9 3.9 4.2 1 3 3.5 3.8
RCA RSH30BG In-Ear $249 2.1 2.09 1.7 3.7 3.3 1 3 4 4
RCA RSH062SL Micro $399 2 1.95 1.1 3.8 4 1 3.5 4 4

Comparison of the 24 Best-Selling OTC hearing aids available at Walmart across our 10 attributes of evaluation (all ratings based on a 5-point scale with 5 being the best). Prices vary by distributor and some companies offer holiday specials, as well as add-on services, loss & damage, cleaning, and subscription packages. This ranking, and the individual category scores, represent our best judgment as field-experts. However, they may not accurately capture your individual needs or preferences.

What are OTC hearing aids?

In August 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized its historic ruling outlining a nonprescription over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid category. The ruling aims to offer you more options at lower costs by relaxing regulations surrounding the development and sales of hearing aids. Since then, new products have emerged weekly, claiming to offer a “prescription-like” quality for a fractional cost of traditional clinical hearing care. Many of these devices are available online and in-store at consumer electronics retailers such as BestBuy, Walgreens, and Walmart (the focus of this article).

While the FDA rolled-back many regulations, they have established guidelines for OTC products and their performance. For example, OTC hearing aids are intended for individuals over 18 with no worse than a mild-to-moderate perceived hearing loss and they have general output limits of 111 decibels (higher for devices utilizing input compression).

The FDA regulations have several direct consequences for consumers, including less consumer protection for trial periods, warranties, and return policies. There remains much debate about whether the current regulations are enough to protect consumers from unsafe, ineffective, and low-quality products that reach store shelves or that can be purchased online.

OTC hearing aid boxes of products you can find at Walmart

Audien Atom Pro 2 (center) is a highly advertised OTC hearing aid that claims to offer crystal clear sound thanks to their new A2 chip. Though they are relatively inexpensive at $289/pair, Atom 2’s sound performance puts them in the bottom 10% of all OTC devices tested at HearAdvisor.

If you are among the over 30-million adults in the U.S. with untreated hearing loss, you may be asking “Do OTC products deliver comparable hearing benefit at lower-costs?” In my experience, after hands-on testing of over 60 modern products, the answer is a resounding no. The scientific testing I do through HearAdvisor has convinced me that while the current regulations are a good start, they are a far cry from appropriate quality assurance and consumer protection.

Some devices do offer excellent value, fulfilling the original goal of OTC products, while others can potentially worsen your ability to understand speech. Worse yet, all devices tend to share the same marketing claims to: 1) make speech clear and 2) help you in background noise. How can you dig through the advertisements and find a quality product? Without trying to sound too idealistic, that is why HearingTracker and HearAdvisor have teamed up to offer reviews such as this one.

Continue reading to learn more about the range of products and our top choices!

What hearing aids are sold at retailers like Walmart?

Walmart is one of the most recognizable big-box retailers, and given its recent expansion into Health Centers, it is little surprise that it also offers hearing devices—although you now will find them online or on store shelves because Walmart Health Centers no longer provide hearing services. As of October 2022, you can find OTC hearing aids online and in-store for around $100 to slightly over $1,000 per pair. The average price across the devices we tested for our review at Walmart was $574. For comparison, a recent reader survey at HearingTracker showed an average price of $4,672 per pair of prescription hearing aids.

Walmart in-store on the shelf display of five OTC hearing aids

Here is a Walmart display showing some of the OTC products offered, including (l to r) the Audien Atom Pro 2, Go Hearing Go Prime, HP Hearing Pro, iHear MatriX, Lexie B2 Powered by Bose, and Jabra Enhance Plus. You may find a similar display at your local store near the other medical health products.

Although Walmart reports having over 4,600 stores in the United States and 5,400 Walmart Internationals, the mass retailer is not known as a large hearing aid distributor. However, its wholesale membership sister company, Sam’s Club, does offer professionally dispensed prescription and OTC models in its approximately 450 Lucid Hearing Aid Centers.

Walmart's products come in a range of styles, technology levels, and wireless capabilities. For example, HP Hearing Pro are in-the-ear devices resembling advanced earbuds, while Jabra Enhance Select 50R hearing aids are more similar to traditional receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids. While this variety gives you more options, it can also add confusion if you are not familiar with the differences and their implications for your hearing.

What’s more, I did not find a way to filter attributes (e.g., audio streaming or rechargeable batteries), meaning you may find it exhausting to dig through the 20+ hearing aid brands and nearly 60 devices currently available on the Walmart website. I imagine the experience is similar at other mass retailers. If you are less familiar with hearing aids and their differences, here are some key points to consider when shopping:

  • Comfort: The best hearing aid has little value if it is painful to wear. You will still have to purchase a device to assess comfort, as retailers do not let you try them in-store (likely for reasons of hygiene and health). However, you do have a trial period, generally lasting 30 to 45 days, to assess comfort at your own pace. Everyone’s ears are different, so expect your experiences to vary based on the size and shape of your ears.
  • Support: Traditional hearing care relies on the knowledge of hearing care professionals. Due to the need to compete at low prices, this is one area lacking in most OTC products. It is worth considering your individual needs, tech savviness, and determination to “tinker” before making a purchase. If you prefer a higher level of guidance, OTC companies like Jabra, Lexie, Audicus, and Eargo offer remote professional care with some of their devices.
  • Battery: Rechargeable batteries have advanced considerably over the past 5 years and are now common even among OTC hearing aids. However, battery life and recharge time can vary considerably between companies, and some still rely on disposable batteries. It's important to consider your "typical day” and your expected duration of use before purchasing.
  • Build Quality: Build quality is generally of minor concern with prescription devices, as most have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 68, which is the highest possible rating against moisture and dirt/debris for hearing aids. However, I find the quality to vary considerably between OTC devices. Even good-sounding products can be made with cheap materials and designs, making them more susceptible to damage and a short service life.
  • Bluetooth: Many OTC hearing aids offer wireless app controls, Bluetooth streaming, and hands-free calling. Even if you are not the most tech-savvy, it is worth finding a device that is compatible with your smartphone and offers a mobile app, as this should improve the hearing benefit you experience.
  • Fitting Apps: The ability to fine-tune the hearing aid for your unique hearing loss can greatly improve your chances of benefiting from the device. For example, BlaidsX Neuro allows you to directly input your audiogram (hearing thresholds) in their mobile app so the device can provide gain/amplification based on your own needs.
  • Handling: Handling corresponds to general ease of use and will depend on many factors, such as your previous experience with hearing aids, mobility, dexterity, and vision. Hearing aids and their parts tend to be small (e.g., disposable batteries), which can be challenging, especially if this is your first time trying hearing aids. If you have concerns, devices offering rechargeable batteries and mobile apps can help.
  • Style/Design: Style preferences are individualized and there are, fortunately, options ranging from nearly invisible-in-ear (IIC) to behind-the-ear (BTE) designs. You should have no problem finding a style you like.

Does Walmart vet or screen their hearing aid products for quality?

Hearing aids have traditionally been fit through clinics where hearing care professionals are responsible for vetting product quality and effectiveness. Now that we are in the OTC era, retailers such as Walmart arguably take on that responsibility. I reached out to Walmart’s Customer Relations team asking about any product testing for consumer protection and here is their response:

At Walmart, we procure items directly from the manufacturer, and once we receive them, we ensure that every product meets the highest quality standards to prevent any incidents for our customers when they make a purchase.”

Walmart Customer Relations

They went on to discuss their hearing aid return policy, which allows you to try out their devices risk-free.

In reality, retailers like Walmart likely perform minimal vetting and rely on information from the brands they purchase from. What’s more, some of those hearing aid brands use white-label or rebranded products from overseas manufacturers. This amounts to another level of opaqueness concerning a device's audio performance and overall quality. If you would like to explore this, there are FDA databases listing device registrations and listings. HearingTracker has also published a full list of FDA-registered OTC hearing aids, complete with a summary of relevant product codes.

Other stores, like BestBuy, Target, and chain pharmacies, have also jumped on the OTC hearing aid bandwagon. While this article focuses on Walmart, it can serve as a proxy for these other retailers, as many of the devices we tested are available elsewhere online or on store shelves.

Hearadvisor Kemar W Lucid Engage

The HearAdvisor lab's KEMAR maniken testing the Lucid Engage hearing aid.

How did we rank the best-selling OTC hearing aids at Walmart?

For over a decade, HearingTracker has been reviewing hearing aids, hearables, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), and more. Our team includes a range of experts with diverse backgrounds and experiences, lending a wealth of knowledge to every review. More recently, HearingTracker has teamed up with HearAdvisor, an independent test lab that objectively assesses hearing aid audio quality by leveraging the latest science. Together, we are able to offer you the best of both worlds with objective science-backed data and expert hands-on knowledge.

Hearing aids were rated based on the following 10 attributes:

  1. SoundScore: The SoundScore is the result of objective hearing aid audio performance measured in the HearAdvisor lab. It represents a weighted average of five sound quality metrics in two fitting approaches (self-fitting and best-possible professionally tuned) for performance in quiet and noise, feedback (whistling), music streaming, and the perception of one's own voice. It is meant to represent the estimated audio performance of a hearing aid if you have a mild-to-moderate sloping hearing loss typical of the people who would be candidates of an OTC hearing aid. Devices with higher SoundScores indicate better performance.
  2. Pro Support: This attribute corresponds to the amount of professional assistance a device offers. Many OTC devices rely on email or phone-based tech support, while others allow more prescription-like programming with remote assistance from hearing care providers. Devices offering better support options, with provider assistance, score higher.
  3. Comfort: This is our subjective rating of a device’s comfort when being worn. Factors such as size, shape, and fit are considered during general use and dynamic facial movements (e.g., chewing). Higher scores indicate the device was more comfortable for me to wear.
  4. Battery: This category considers a device’s battery and power options. Higher scores are associated with longer reported battery life, shorter recharge times, and on-the-go charging options (e.g., cases offering additional battery life with an internal power bank).
  5. Build Quality: Build quality is based on a product’s observed durability and IP rating, if available. Higher scores for this attribute are associated with better protection against dirt/debris and moisture, as well as perceived quality.
  6. Bluetooth: Many hearing aids offer audio streaming, though the quality can vary depending on your mobile phone. Higher Bluetooth Streaming scores indicate devices that offer wireless audio across iOS and Android platforms, as well as hands-free calling.
  7. App Features: Similar to Bluetooth Streaming, many hearing aids can be controlled wirelessly with phone apps. This attribute corresponds to the included app features and level of personalization (e.g., gain, hearing tests, multi-band frequency adjustments, etc.). Higher scores indicate the app is user-friendly and provides you with more control.
  8. Handling: Handling is a subjective measure of a device's user-friendliness. Smaller manual controls and battery doors can be difficult to manage, especially for those with low vision or dexterity issues. Higher scores suggest I found the device more straightforward and easy to use.
  9. Design: Design is a subjective appraisal of a device's physical appearance when worn. Although this is highly subjective, larger devices with antiquated designs are generally less desirable. Higher scores in our Design category point to hearing aids that are smaller, less visible, and/or modern in appearance.
  10. Value: This refers to a device's overall cost-benefit or "bang for the buck.” A higher Value score is associated with devices that score well across the above nine attributes while having a lower price.

We understand that no rating method will apply to everyone, as people's needs differ (e.g., ear anatomy, preferences, hearing loss, etc.). Similarly, some people will prioritize features like rechargeability, Bluetooth streaming, and online support, while others will not. However, we used our best judgment based on expert knowledge and clinical experience to rank hearing aids as accurately as possible.

What should you choose? Our top picks for Walmart OTC hearing aids

Below we provide what we believe are the go-to choices when shopping for an OTC hearing aid at Walmart in the following categories:

  • Best Value
  • Best on a Budget
  • Best Prescription Tech
  • Best Earbud
  • Best Discreet on a Budget

Best Value: Lexie B2 Plus Powered by Bose

Lexie B2 Plus Powered by Bose is a receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid available for $999 a pair and offers rechargeability, iPhone streaming, a new recharging case, and an in-app hearing test. In terms of other features and functionality, the Lexie B2 Plus is almost identical to the slightly older Lexie B2 RIC hearing aid, which is priced at $899 a pair. Lexie also offers the B1 and Lexie Lumen for $799, a hearing aid with similar functionality in a slightly older behind-the-ear (BTE) design. While Lumen is not one of our top picks, it is also available through Walmart.

Lexie B2 Hearing Aids Powered By Bose Box

Unboxing the Lexie B2 Powered by Bose hearing aid. Lexie B2 Plus Powered by Bose has been updated from the previous B2 model (pictured) with an in-app hearing test and a new charging case.

Lexie Hearing is part of the hearX Group, a hearing healthcare company based in Pretoria, South Africa, co-founded in 2015 by a respected audiologist and academic, De Wet Swanepoel, PhD, and entrepreneur Nic Klopper. hearX provides affordable hearing testing and amplification products “using smart digital health solutions that anyone can use, anywhere.” Along with its Lexie hearing aid line, hearX makes a clinically validated online hearing test (hearScreen), which is used by companies like Costco, CVS, Best Buy, and Lexie Hearing itself.

What I liked about Lexie B2 Plus Powered by Bose

Excellent  speech intelligibility benefits
Good build quality
Modern prescription-like design 

Limitations

Relatively expensive for an OTC hearing aid at $999/pair
No audio streaming with Android mobile devices
Although Lexie offers 24/7 online support, there are some reports of it being slow
Score Description
SoundScore 4.6 Lexie B2 currently ranks as one of the top OTC products measured at HearAdvisor, largely thanks to its impressive speech benefits in both quiet and louder environments. 
Support 1 One downside to Lexie B2 is that you are limited to phone or email based technical support. Fortunately, B2 and their App Features are fairly user-friendly and you will likely not need regular assistance. 
Comfort 5 B2 is a rather sleek receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid. I found its comfort similar to that of prescription hearing aids and experienced no issues wearing it long-term (even with glasses).
Battery 4 Lexie B2 has a reported battery life of 18 hours so it should last all-day for most people. It takes only 3 hours to recharge in its case which also doubles as a portable charger thanks to the internal power-bank. 
Build Quality 4.6 Lexie claims all of their products have an IP rating of 67 which is near the maximal egress protection for hearing aids. Beyond this, I found B2 wellbuilt with a good button click feel and robust portable charging case. 
Bluetooth 3 B2 does offer audio streaming though it is unfortunately limited to iOS devices. I found B2’s streamed audio quality mediocre but it is a useful feature to have for those of use using Apple products.
App Features 4 The App Features is one of my favorite features of B2. It is simple and visually pleasing while offering excellent personalization. Lexie has recently added an in-app hearing test making it even better. 
Handling 5 I had no issues adjusting B2 with the app or rocker switch. I found the physical buttons sufficiently large and tactile offering a good click feel when depressed. 
Design 5 Lexie B2 offers a sleek design similar to modern prescription hearing aids fro major manufacturers. One potential downside is that it is only available in Gray, with no other color options. 
Value 3.8 B2 are on the pricier end of OTC products but they offer an excellent value thanks to their audio performance, rechargeability, and feature set.

Best on a Budget: Lucid Hearing Enrich Pro

Lucid was founded in 2009 and is a Texas-based company offering a range of prescription and lower-cost direct-to-consumer hearing aids. Many of their products are also available at Lucid Hearing Centers found within Sam’s Club stores across the United States, where you receive direct care from hearing care providers. We have previously tested other products from Lucid, such as the recently released Tala and premium behind-the-ear Engage. Their hearing aids tend to be of good overall value, and it is worth noting that both Tala and Engage received the HearAdvisor Expert Choice Award.

Lucid Enrich Pro Otc Hearing Aid Box

Unboxing the Lucid Enrich Pro OTC hearing aid.

Lucid Enrich Pro varies slightly from other Lucid devices I have tested and does not appear built to rigorous quality standards. However, we still found Enrich Pro to offer an excellent value given its relatively low cost of $199 and ability to amplify important speech frequencies with minimal tweaking.

What I liked about Lucid Enrich Pro

Inexpensive at $199/pair
Decent speech intelligibility benefits

Limitations

No rechargeable battery option (uses size 10 disposable batteries)
No audio streaming or phone app
Overall style and build quality
Limited support
Score Description
SoundScore 3.7 Lucid Enrich currently ranks as #15 in HearAdvisor’s OTC category. It offers respectable gain and speech benefits given its relatively low cost. 
Support 1 One downside to Enrich Pro is that you are limited to phone or email based technical support. However, as the company does have hearing centers you may be able to receive in person assistance. 
Comfort 3.5 Enrich Pro does not offer the greatest comfort as the hearing aids are a generic size and shape. You may be able to improve the comfort of your fit by changing between the included silicone ear tips, which will also influence other elements such as your voice quality. 
Battery 4.3 Enrich Pro rely on the traditional disposable size 10 (yellow) hearing aid batteries. This is the smallest size disposable battery which may be challenging for some people. However, you can expect 3 to 7 days of use per battery. 
Build Quality 3.3 There is no listed IP rating for Erich Pro and they appear to be of a lower overall build quality. Regular care and maintenance will likely be necessary to preserve their sound quality and keep them working long-term 
Bluetooth Enrich Pro do not offer Bluetooth streaming. 
App Features Enrich Pro do not offer wireless app control. 
Handling 3.5 Enrich pro offer good left/right color indicators and are relatively small, which can be either good or undesirable depending on your needs. The buttons are rather tiny which will likely cause difficulty if you have larger hands, limited feeling in your fingers, and or limited dexterity. Lastly, you will need to make adjustments independently to each device as Enrich Pro do not communicate wireless. 
Design 3.5 Enrich Pro have an overall  antiquated design though much of the hearing aid will be hidden  when worn in ear. Lucid appears to use the same faceplate for both the left and right devices, causing a slight change in the microphone position. However, this did not appear to influence their audio performance significantly.  
Value 2.77 While there are several downsides to Enrich Pro, we found them to offer the best overall value for a low budget product.

Best Prescription Tech: Jabra Enhance 50R

Introduced in January 2024, Jabra Enhance Select 50R is a receiver-in-canal (RIC) over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid that is essentially a rechargeable upgrade of Jabra's previously successful Enhance Select 50 model—hence, the "R" in 50R. Enhance 50R is also available from JabraEnhance.com for $995 or $1195 depending on the service package you choose (Basic or Premium).

Jabra Enhance Select 50r Unboxing

Unboxing of the Jabra Enhance Select 50R hearing aid.

Based on our testing, we strongly recommend the Premium service option if you wish to personalize 50R and get the most out of these devices; you can learn more about how this influenced performance in our full review of Jabra Enhance 50R. Overall, you can expect good performance from this OTC hearing aid, especially with customization opportunities using the mobile app and Jabra’s remote telecare team.

It is worth noting that Jabra is a Danish consumer electronics company that shares technology with well-established hearing aid brands ReSound and Beltone. This comes following their acquisition by GN Store Nord in 2000. You can find several excellent hearing aids from Jabra spanning a full range of styles, performance levels, and professional services. For example, this Walmart roundup also includes their earbud-like Enhance Plus, which can be purchased for $799. Jabra also offers Enhance Pro 20, a prescription hearing aid dispensed by licensed professionals at Costco Hearing Aid Centers for $1,599/pair, making it an exceptional deal.

Jabra50r Inhand F

The Jabra Enhance Select 50R in my hand.

What I liked about Jabra Enhance Select 50R

Personalized to your ears with the help of Jabra’s Care Team
All-day rechargeable batteries 
Wireless accessories available
Based on prescription hearing aid technology from GN Resound

Limitations

Relatively expensive for an OTC device at $995 to $1195/pair
No hands-free calling
Virtual-only hearing care (no in-person available)
Score Description
SoundScore 3.8 Jabra 50R offers moderate speech benefits and ranks #11 in HearAdvisor’s OTC category. You will likely experience the greatest speech benefits if you personalize 50R beyond the default settings with the Enhance Select App.  
Support 3 50R is a step above most OTC devices offering both technical support and virtual-care with hearing care providers. Direct care should not be overlooked as it is often key to long-term hearing aid success. 
Comfort 5 50R is a rather sleek receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid. Its comfort is consistent with prescription like products and I experienced  no issues wearing it long-term (even with glasses).
Battery 3.9 50R has a remarkable  reported battery life of 30 hours and you can expect around 3 hours of recharge time. One complaint I have with 50R is the older style tabletop charger. It works well but it does not have a lid or offer on-the-go charging.  
Build Quality 5 50R has an egress rating of IP68 indicating it has excellent protection against moisture and debris. My hands-on experience with these devices supports that and their overall quality build.  
Bluetooth 4 50R does offer audio streaming for both iOS and Android though it is not the highest fidelity. However, I will take the low-quality audio streaming over none at all. If you need hands-free calling you will want to look at other Jabra hearing products. 
App Features 4.5 Jabra’s App Features offers fantastic customization and is easily navigated with their logical tab organization. This comes straight from their prescription hearing aid ties.
Handling 4.5 50R works well but some may find the physical button on the smaller side. Otherwise, it offers a good tactile feel with a clear click when depressed. 
Design 4.5 50R has the look and design of a prescription hearing aid, albeit slightly older in design compared to the latest devices. Regardless, it is sleek and nearly invisible behind the ear. 
Value 3.7 50R offers a good value but remains expensive for an OTC hearing aid. Jabra’s Enhance Pro 20 can be purchased for a similar price and includes in-person care (among other improvements).

Best Earbud: Sony CRE-E10

Sony CRE-E10 was released in January 2023 and is an over-the-counter (OTC) earbud-like hearing aid for about $1,000 per set. Sony needs little introduction, but the E10 was developed in partnership with WS Audiology (WSA), the mother company behind brands such as Widex and Signia. The Sony E10 has often been compared to the Signia Active X.

Sony Cre E10 Otc Hearing Aid Unboxing

Unboxing of the Sony CRE-E10 OTC hearing aid.

Not surprisingly, we found CRE-E10 impressive, punching beyond the weight of average OTC devices—and even surpassing some offerings from prescription technologies which is a testament to the combined expertise from giants Sony and WSA. The CRE-E10 was awarded the 2023 Expert Choice Award and remains HearAdvisor's top-ranked product in both the prescription and OTC categories.

Sony Cre E10 On Table

Sony CRE-E10 OTC hearing aids with charger.

This Walmart roundup also includes another Sony product, the CRE-C10, an invisible-in-ear style device sold for about $800 per set. While it does not offer the same wireless capabilities as the CRE-E10, it was also awarded the 2023 HearAdvisor Expert Choice award, making it a worthwhile consideration depending on your needs.

What I liked about Sony CRE-E10 OTC hearing aids

Currently the top performer among all devices tested at HearAdvisor. 
Light and comfortable
All-day battery life

Limitations

Relatively expensive at around $998/pair
“Plugged” feel of an in-the-ear style device
No on-board buttons (not an issue for everyone)
Score Description
SoundScore 5 Sony CRE-E10  currently ranks #1 in HearAdvisor’s global and OTC categories. It offers excellent speech benefits  and music streaming.
Support 1 One downside to Sony CRE-E10 is that you are limited to phone or email based technical support.
Comfort 4 CRE-E10 are light weight and have an ergonomic shape which lead to a comfortable fit in my ears. They are more occluding, leading to a “plugged” feeling, which you may not like or require extra time getting accustomed to. 
Battery 4.4 These devices offer an astounding 26 hour reported battery life per charge. This does require slightly longer charge times, though this will not be an issue for most as you can do so overnight. I found the portable recharging case sturdy so it should hold-up to daily use and pocket travel.  
Build Quality 4.9 CRE-E10 have an egress rating of IP68, meaning they have excellent water and debris resistance. They appear to be made of a quality material similar to prescription hearing aids.  
Bluetooth 3 CRE-E10  does offer audio streaming though it is unfortunately limited to iOS devices. I found the streamed audio quality fantastic and “full” thanks to their snug fit in my ears. 
App Features 3.5 Sony’s App Features is straightforward though minimalistic and not as modern looking as I’d expect. The on-ear hearing test worked well and the included features are useful. However, the app’s design is slightly antiquated and I found myself wanting more advanced personalization options (e.g. multi-band frequency adjustments).
Handling 5 CRE-E10 is very easy to use thanks to the app’s straightforward design. They do not have any onboard buttons, which some may dislike, as you are reliant on the app for programming changes. 
Design 5 I found the design of CRE-E10 sleek like modern wireless earbuds. They do not look like traditional hearing aids as they are solid black and visible when worn in ear. Your preferences will dictate whether you like this style, or a more conservative invisible approach. 
Value 3.8 I found CRE-E10 to offer fantastic audio quality and overall functionality. It offers a great value though it is more expensive, at around $998/pair, and some may wish to pursue traditional hearing aids at a clinic given its price point.

Best Discreet on a Budget: RxEars Rxi

RxEars Rxi is a less conspicuous in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid available for $499 per pair. It is powered by disposable size 10 batteries and may offer a simpler setup than other devices on our list, as it is not Bluetooth-compatible. What the Rxi lacks in modern wireless features, it makes up for with its amplification—which is shockingly accurate for a preset-based OTC hearing aid.

Personal Medical Rxears Rxi Otc Unboxing

Persona Medical's RxEars Rxi hearing aids unboxing.

After a few adjustments with the multi-function button, I landed on a setting that offered better gain than the default settings on some $4,000 prescription hearing aids. This was an interesting finding highlighting: 1) that some OTC devices are capable of offering appropriate gain for a mild to moderate sloping hearing loss and 2) that hearing care providers should routinely be performing real-ear measurements—if you have a provider, hold them accountable.

RxEars is part of Persona Medical, a hearing aid company that has been manufacturing products since 1966, with its origins in Magnatone. Persona currently offers 4 hearing aid styles, including the Rxi, which are available on their website for less than $500 per pair (prices may be lower during occasional sales).

What I liked about Persona Medical's RxEars Rxi

Respectable amplification for a preset-based hearing aid
Discrete in-ear fit
Relatively low-cost OTC hearing aid

Limitations

No audio streaming or phone app
Not rechargeable (uses size 10 batteries)
Small battery door and buttons may be difficult for some
Not as good as the more expensive ($798) Sony CRE-C10, which are equally discreet
Score Description
SoundScore 3.7 Rxi offers impressive speech benefits for a preset-based device and ranks #14 in the prescription category. 
Support 1 One downside to RxEars Rxi is that you are limited to phone or email based technical support.
Comfort 3.5 Rxi are a smaller near invisible-in-ear style hearing aid. It is worth experimenting with the included ear tips to find one that offers a snug fit, minimizing feedback issues, while not causing you to feel “plugged”. 
Battery 4.3 Rxi rely on the traditional disposable size 10 (yellow) hearing aid batteries. This is the smallest size disposable battery which may be challenging for some people. However, you can expect 3 to 7 days of use per battery. 
Build Quality 3.3 There is no listed IP rating for Rxi though they feel similar to the build quality of custom traditional hearing aids. Regardless, i would recommend regular care and maintenance to preserve their sound quality and keep them working long-term 
Bluetooth Rxi do not offer Bluetooth streaming. 
App Features Rxi do not offer wireless app control. 
Handling 3.5 Rxi are relatively small and may require some finesse if you are not familiar with near invisible-in-ear style hearing aids. Similarly, the batteries, battery door, and button are very small which may be difficult to press if you have larger hands, limited feeling in your fingers, and or limited dexterity. Lastly, you will need to make adjustments independently to each device as Rxi do not communicate wireless. 
Design 3.5 Rxi look surprisingly like custom prescription hearing aids. However, unlike prescription devices they are only available in the common “medical beige” skin color which will not be appropriate for everyone.
Value 2.6 There are many traditional size vs. feature tradeoffs with Rxi. Based on your needs they may offer a decent overall value given their lower cost and speech benefits.

Bad experiences: Be cautious with the following devices...

In my experience, most OTC products are not built or tested with the same rigor as prescription hearing aids. This makes sense as new OTC companies do not have the same resources as major manufacturers. So, while some troubleshooting is normal—especially given the lack of professional assistance—I did run into a few devices that were particularly problematic. Here is a short list highlighting those devices and the troubles I experienced.

Did not work: HearingAssist Stream Rechargeable OTC Hearing Aid

HearingAssist has several products in this Walmart roundup. While several attempts were made, Stream malfunctioned before they could be tested. Stream claims to offer modern features such as rechargeable batteries, wireless app control, advanced noise-reduction capabilities, Bluetooth streaming (for iOS and Android), and more. However, two pairs of Stream devices were tested, and they didn't work.

Hearingassist Stream Otc Hearing Aid And Charger

HearingAssist's Stream OTC hearing aid and charger did not work for me and I could not get assistance or support for it.

The first issue I experienced was with the rechargeable batteries, which would not last more than 10 minutes. Furthermore, only one Stream hearing aid would pair with my iOS device at a time. I experienced the same issues across both pairs and could not reach HearingAssist’s technical support team for guidance. This was pretty much a worst-case scenario for OTC products.

Poor speech performance: RCA In-Ear and Micro

I tested two OTC hearing aid products from RCA and was initially impressed with their build quality and modernized look. However, both the RSH062 Micro behind-the-ear (above) and RSH30 In-Ear (below) devices scored poorly in HearAdvisor’s speech performance metric.

Rca Rsh062 Bte Otc Hearing Aids

RCA's RSH062 Micro BTE hearing aid did not perform well in speech performance.

The objective test behind this score comes from a scientific metric that models the injured hearing system and predicts speech benefits. To put it in simpler terms, higher scores suggest clearer speech. Unfortunately, both devices scored negative numbers, which suggests they may actually diminish speech clarity, making it harder for you to hear. This is shocking but can be explained in part by the gain/amplification they offer. HearAdvisor includes graphs of this where you can see RCA RSH062 actually reducing high speech sounds—almost like an earplug. 

Rca Rsh30 In Ear Otc Hearing Aid

Similar to its sister product above, testing of the RCA RSH30 In-Ear hearing aid indicated it may actually worsen speech understanding when wearing it.

Confusingly sold as a single unit: HearingAssist Micro In-The-Ear OTC Hearing Aid

HearingAssist Micro is a very small, nearly invisible-in-ear, OTC hearing aid. Like many hearing aids this size, it does not offer wireless capabilities and relies on disposable size 10 batteries. HearingAssist Micro offers surprisingly good sound quality, comfort, and general use. The main issue I experienced with Micro is that these devices are sold as single units and not in pairs (which is more common). In this way, I found the packaging confusing, and it brings the seemingly affordable price of $349 into a pricier range of roughly $700 if you need two.

Hearingassist Micro Otc Hearing Aid

Close-up of the HearingAssist Micro OTC in-ear hearing aid.

Should you consider an OTC hearing aid from Walmart?

You will be happy to learn that there are quality OTC hearing aids at retailers like Walmart. Many offer a great value, and some perform on-par with prescription hearing aids when programmed to treat mild-to-moderate sloping hearing loss.

However, there does not appear to be much product vetting on the part of either manufacturers or retailers. This means there is virtually no consumer protection, and we therefore recommend you exercise caution when shopping in the OTC category. Manufacturers will regularly advertise all products as 1) improving speech clarity and 2) helping with background noise. This is because they know these are the most common complaints of individuals with hearing loss.

Steve Taddei

Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Steve Taddei is a licensed audiologist in Rockford, Illinois. He hosts and produces the Hearing Tracker Podcast and is a professor at several institutions proctoring courses in acoustics, hearing conservation, and audio arts. Additionally, he remains an active member in the music and audio engineering community. Whether speaking to students or consumers of hearing technology, he aims to promote self-advocacy and increase hearing health awareness. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, mountain biking, and playing guitar.