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Millions of Americans can now buy hearing aids over-the-counter

FDA Finalizes Historic Rule Enabling Millions of Americans’ Access to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids



Mid-October could see the arrival of more reasonably priced hearing aids.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a final rule to expand access to hearing aids, which might result in cheaper prices for millions of Americans.

This action introduces a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices, allowing consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase hearing aids without a medical exam, prescription, or fitting adjustment by an audiologist.

The rule is anticipated to reduce the price of hearing aids, promoting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of increasing access to high-quality health care and reducing the cost of health care for the American population.

It is intended to ensure the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter hearing aids while encouraging innovation and market competition in the hearing aid technology sector.

President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy required the FDA to take procedures to enable over-the-counter sales of hearing aids and set a 120-day deadline, which the FDA met.

In 2017, Congress approved legislation mandating the FDA develop a category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, but it has not yet been completely implemented.

When the rule takes effect in mid-October, consumers may be able to purchase OTC hearing aids through traditional retailers and pharmacies.

“Reducing healthcare costs in the United States has been a priority of mine since day one, and this rule is anticipated to help us achieve quality, affordable healthcare access for millions of Americans in need,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.

The FDA’s move today signals a key milestone in the effort to make hearing aids more affordable and accessible.

Nearly 30 million American people could benefit from hearing aids. Individuals with persistent hearing loss can use hearing aids to amplify their voice and other sounds, so enhancing their capacity to communicate with others.

Numerous hearing devices can be costly. The final rule aims to stimulate competition and facilitate the sale of safe and effective over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids in traditional retail stores and online across the nation, giving consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss better access to devices that meet their needs and are less expensive than existing options.

According to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., hearing loss is a serious public health concern that impacts the ability of millions of Americans to speak properly in their daily social interactions.

“By establishing this new regulatory category, consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss will have easy access to a variety of safe, effective, and reasonably priced hearing aids through their local retailer or online.”

The category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids created by this final rule applies to specific air-conduction hearing aids designed for individuals 18 and older with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment.

Hearing aids that do not fit the criteria for the over-the-counter (OTC) category (for example, because they are meant for severe hearing loss or users under 18) are prescription devices.

After receiving and considering more than 1,000 public comments on the proposed rule posted on October 20, 2021, the FDA finalized the regulation.

In the final rule, the FDA responds to the comments provided by consumers, professional associations, hearing aid manufacturers, public health organizations and advocacy groups, members of Congress, state agencies, and other stakeholders.

In response to public comments and to ensure the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, the final rule incorporates several changes from the proposed rule, including lowering the maximum sound output to reduce the risk of hearing from over-amplification of sound, revising the insertion depth limit, requiring that all OTC hearing aids have a user-adjustable volume control, and simplifying the language throughout the required device labeling to ensure the safety and effectiveness of OTC hearing aids.

In addition, the final rule incorporates performance parameters and design requirements particular to over-the-counter hearing aids.

In addition, today’s action modifies existing rules that apply to prescription hearing aids to make them consistent with the new OTC category, repeals the conditions for selling hearing aids, and includes provisions that address some of the effects of the FDA OTC hearing aid regulations on state regulation of hearing aids.

Concurrently with the release of the final rule, the FDA issued the final guidance, Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs), to clarify the distinction between hearing aids, which are medical devices, and PSAPs, which are consumer products that help people with normal hearing amplify sounds.

The final rule becomes effective sixty days after its publication in the Federal Register. Manufacturers of hearing aids sold before to the rule’s effective date will have 240 days from the rule’s publication to comply with the new or updated requirements.

Before marketing hearing aids that were not on the market prior to the effective date, they must comply with the new or revised regulations, including getting 510(k) clearance, if applicable.

Similar Information

The FDA, an organization within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, safeguards public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other human biological products, and medical devices.

Additionally, the agency is responsible for the safety and security of the nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, devices that emit electronic radiation, and tobacco products.




Additionally, many ask


Are hearing aids something you can just buy?


Hearing aids available over-the-counter (OTC) are, indeed, something that may be purchased without first consulting an audiologist.

People who are experiencing severe hearing loss that cannot be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids will be required to have a hearing exam and obtain a prescription from an audiologist or hearing care specialist in order to purchase prescription hearing aids.

OTC hearing aids will not be an option for these individuals.


Are hearing aids something you can just buy?


Does one of Walmart’s stores now sell hearing aids that are now available for purchase in the United States?
Over-the-counter hearing aids are now available at Walmart, which will help customers both hear and feel their best. Copied!

How much of a market is there for hearing aids in the United States?


In 2022, the Hearing Aid Clinics sector is expected to generate revenue of $2.5 billion, making it a market with a size of $2.5 billion.

What percentage of expansion can we anticipate for the Hearing Aid Clinics industry in the United States by the year 2022?


It is anticipated that the total market size of the industry of Hearing Aid Clinics will expand by 4.1% in 2022. How much do hearing aids typically cost in the United States?


Key Considerations Regarding the Lowest-Priced Hearing Aids Hearing aids can cost as much as $7,000 for a pair; however, the less-priced options on this list range from $99 to $6,000 and still provide quality as well as individualized attention to each customer.

When determining which hearing aid is ideal for you, it is important to think about your lifestyle, your budget, and your hearing needs.


Is a Costco membership required to purchase hearing aids at Costco?


You do not need a Costco membership to receive an eye checkup or hearing test at Costco because it is illegal to restrict access to health screenings to the general public.

However, in order to purchase any of the hearing aids or optical devices that Costco has to offer, you will need to sign up for a membership.


Does Medicare cover hearing aids manufacture in 2022?


Hearing aids, as well as the fittings and hearing exams that are performed for the purpose of prescription hearing aids, are not covered by Medicare Parts A and B, which is a shame because they are expensive.

Hearing aids and exams are only two examples of the kinds of hearing services that may or may not be covered by Medicare Advantage plans, depending on the specifics of the plan.

How much money should you expect to spend on a reliable hearing aid?


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between $1,800 and $5,000 per pair, depending on the size.
How Much Does It Typically Cost to Purchase a Reputable Hearing Aid? Hearing aids can be purchased for anywhere between $399 to more than $6,000 for a pair.

A pair of high-quality hearing aids will set you back anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000 on average. Although this range is somewhat broad, it does take into account the lower pricing that is offered by internet carriers.

What is the typical life expectancy of a hearing aid? 


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Hearing aids typically have a lifespan of three to seven years, however, they might survive even longer for certain individuals.

The quality of the instrument’s construction, as well as how well it is maintained, as well as the amount of wear and tear that it endures while being worn in your ear for a significant portion of each day are all factors that influence its lifespan.


Why aren’t more people in the United States getting treatment for their hearing loss?


Hearing loss may often be effectively treated, but many people choose not to obtain help because they are unaware of the condition, as well as because they are concerned about the expense and the social stigma associated with receiving treatment.

Hearing loss affects around 36 million people in the United States, as shown by research conducted by the National Institute on Deafness.

What are the reasons that insurance does not cover hearing aids?


The majority of insurance providers have stated that they do not provide coverage for hearing aids since, in their opinion, hearing aids are not a necessary piece of medical equipment; rather, they are categorized as “elective.”


How frequently does it become necessary to get a new hearing aid?

around five years
The typical lifespan of a pair of hearing aids is approximately five years. This is due to the normal wear and tear that occurs, in addition to the damage that can be caused by ear wax and moisture.

How long does it take for your brain to get used to the sound that a hearing aid produces?


It may take you up to four months to become accustomed to your hearing aids and to fully realize their potential benefits. During this time, however, you will be able to use them more effectively. You will almost immediately begin to observe some subtle shifts, but it is critical that you exercise patience during this process. Make sure to give your hearing professional a call for assistance if you have any queries or concerns about the way things are going.


What are the potential drawbacks associated with wearing a hearing aid?


Negative effects of hearing aids

  • Tinnitus.
  • Headaches.
  • Shyness in the region surrounding the ears
  • Irritations to the skin
  • ear canals that are itchy
  • Inability to hear in a normal manner
  • An excessive amount of feedback.

Which hearing aid is most suitable for senior citizens?


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Hearing devices that use analog technology are significantly easier to use than digital hearing aids. They take the sound waves and transform them so that they may be read as an electrical signal.

They merely amp up their volume of them. They are one of the best solutions for seniors because the controls are straightforward and straightforward to use.

When will we finally be able to find a treatment for hearing loss?

There is currently no treatment available for hearing loss in adults because no medicine has been developed that can stimulate the regeneration of stereocilia in the ear.

Nevertheless, there are a variety of approaches that can be taken to cure it.

Hearing aids have been helpful for a significant number of individuals who are dealing with hearing loss.



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