Yes, there is a difference between the hearing aids you would get from a hearing care professional and the ones you would get online or in a store. OTC hearing aids are intended for mild to moderate hearing loss. They range in their quality and performance. They are not programmed by an audiologist to each individual's unique hearing. Hearing aids that you get from a hearing healthcare professional are for slight to profound hearing loss and are custom fit and programmed based on each individual's hearing and ears.