If you haven't heard the news, listen up: Hearing aids are finally available to buy over the counter across America. The move is a huge change, as hearing aids previously were available only by prescription from a doctor or specialist. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed the rules surrounding the products in August, and now adults can buy OTC hearing aids at retail stores. This should ultimately cost less than going to a professional for a fitting, as Medicare and insurance often don't cover hearing aids.
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Walmart has started selling OTC hearing aids, with a number of products available online, at select Walmart Vision Centers, and at Sam's Club Hearing Aid Centers. “Offering easy access to OTC hearing aids — something that seems quite small — is a solution that can improve our customer’s health outcomes and their ability to live better and healthier," Dr. John Wigneswaran, chief medical officer at Walmart, said in a statement. Some brands are already advertising their availability.
HearingAssist is now available at https://t.co/egJAcQsJxa! Easily order your product and ship it to your local Walmart 🔅— HearingAssist (@HearingAssistUS) September 26, 2022
Explore our Walmart Hearing Collection and see for yourself how HearingAssist can change your life.#HearingAssist #HearingAid #Walmart #WalmartVisionCenter pic.twitter.com/yGVQmCAKGB
Pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens also have started selling hearing aids without a prescription.
"Americans will be able to purchase more affordable hearing aids over the counter at pharmacies and stores across the country," President Joe Biden announced in a statement. "This action makes good on my commitment to lower costs for American families, delivering nearly $3,000 in savings to American families for a pair of hearing aids and giving people more choices to improve their health and wellbeing."
There will still be regulations surrounding the sale of hearing aids. The FDA has established that the devices must be "safe and effective" for people with mild or moderate hearing loss. Additionally, the package labeling should help buyers understand who should use the product and when they might need to see a doctor.