On August 16, 2022, in an effort to make them more affordable and available to more Americans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a ruling that will allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter without a prescription to adults. Wow, it is a long-sought wish come true for people frustrated by expensive exams and devices!
Around 37.5 million American adults have some trouble hearing, according to the National Institutes of Health. But the FDA estimates that only one-fifth of people who could potentially benefit from a hearing aid use one, per the AP. The high cost of hearing aids, which are not covered by basic Medicare, has prevented millions of Americans from buying them. Under the FDA’s new rule, people with mild to moderate hearing loss should be able to buy hearing aids online and in retail stores as soon as October, without being required to see a doctor for an exam to get a prescription. “The requirement to see a specialist was not only a burden and an annoyance for many consumers but it actually created a competitive barrier to entry,” Brian Deese, a White House economics adviser, tells the AP. By eliminating the requirement for an examination and prescription, federal officials estimate the ruling could save people $2,800 on a pair of hearing aids, writes the New York Times’ Christina Jewett.
This could mean a reduction in having to say “Could you repeat that?”