The hearing aids will be available over-the-counter for the first time in the United States starting next week, according to an Oct. 12 press release from Washington Medical University.
Hearing aids will no longer require a prescription, after the Food and Drug Administration issued a ruling allowing the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids in August 2022.
According to Cliff Hume, an otolaryngologist at UW Medicine, the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids would help people with mild hearing problems that have not been treated.
“We know that hearing loss affects things like cognitive decline, the ability to interact socially, work performance, depression – things that impact your day-to-day health. Not only yourself, but also your family,” Hume said in the press release.
Over-the-counter hearing aids are readily available without a doctor’s visit or a prescription, but work the same way as prescribed hearing aids, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Hearing aids make sounds louder for people with hearing loss. Over-the-counter hearing aids are also regulated as medical devices by the FDA, being held to high medical standards to ensure user safety, according to the NIDCD.
The NIDCD also warns that over-the-counter hearing aids should not be used by children or adults with severe hearing difficulties or hearing loss.
Since the decision, some major retailers have announced that they will sell hearing aids between $199 and $799 a pair, according to the press release. Power companies such as Sony have already announced the launch of their own hearing aids. Best Buy has also created an online hearing assessment to assess levels of hearing loss and recommend hearing aids sold on its website or in stores.