The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a measure that will allow hearing aids to correct mild to moderate hearing loss to be sold over the counter. The move is expected to increase access to hearing aids to millions of Americans who are reluctant or unable to go to get a hearing exam and then be fitted for a device.

Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has details on what kind of hearing aids will be available, when, and where you’ll be able to purchase them.

What Hearing Aids Will Be Available Over the Counter

The National Institutes of Health reports that 80% of the people who would benefit from hearing aids do not wear them. The reasons vary—some are in denial or embarrassed to wear them, whereas others cannot afford them, as insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost and they can run into the thousands of dollars.

It’s expected that the ruling will increase competition among manufacturers, and the devices sold over the counter will be available at a price point in the hundreds instead of thousands.

When Will This Ruling Go Into Effect?

The FDA says that the new devices will most likely be available starting in mid-October 2022.

Where Can You Buy These New Hearing Aids?

Expect these devices to be sold at a variety of stores across the country. It can include pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, popular retailers like Target and Walmart, and electronics stores—Best Buy already announced that they will begin carrying the devices once available.

It’s expected that the devices will come with an online program to be accessed via computer or mobile phone app that will allow users to test their own hearing and adjust their devices accordingly without the need of an audiologist.

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