On Tuesday, the FDA has finalized a rule allowing hearing aids to be sold without a prescription, theoretically saving time and money from an expensive multi-step process.
“Reducing the cost of health care in America has been a priority of mine since day one and this rule is expected to help us achieve quality, affordable access to health care for millions of Americans in need,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra in the FDA’s Letting Go.
Why are hearing aids so expensive?
To get a hearing aid, you previously had to see an audiologist to have your hearing assessed and adjusted, and to get medical clearance from your doctor, according to Cleveland Clinic.
However, the actual devices are usually not covered by insurance or Medicare and are sold by audiologists, who usually charge $2,000 per hearing aid — so roughly $4,000 for a pair, according to Forbes Health.
“The rule is expected to reduce the cost of hearing aids,” the FDA added in its statement. By mid-October, over-the-counter tools could be available — and thus more accessible to many — in stores, it added.
People over the age of 18 who have experienced “mild to moderate hearing loss” can purchase the devices over the counter, according to the FDA.
Luis Medina, a pharmacist and owner of Baron II Drug & Surgical, a surgical supply store and pharmacy in Moonachie, New Jersey, told an londonbusinessblog.com that he hopes to start selling hearing aids in his store because he often recommends them to customers.
Other than that, he’s just glad his mother-in-law can finally hear him talk — she declined the initial price of about $2,000 per ear for her aids.
“This weekend was my mother-in-law’s 93rd birthday and all she said was ‘what?’ and ‘huh,'” he said.