New FDA ruling increases hearing aid accessibility by allowing over the counter sales

This week the FDA finally ruled that hearing aids may be sold over the counter to adults without a prescription.

This historic new FDA ruling will save patients an estimated $2,800. That’s due to individuals no longer having to see an audiologist for a hearing exam and a fitting. A process that isn’t always covered by insurance. Local pharmacist Jacob Standfer said the new competition in the market will likely bring prices down.

“So number one is you’ve got to go to the doctor. So you might have an out of pocket cost there depending on your insurance, then you have to get your doctor to write your prescription for it, then you have to find a company that can fill that prescription. Then you’re left asking, will your insurance cover that? how much will your copay be?,” said Standfer. “So, it’s just kind of a process to where the FDA and our administration is wanting to make it easier.   and hopefully, lowers the cost of hearing aids across the board, just because there will be more competition in the market.”

These OTC hearing aids are not for everyone. There are still criteria you should meet if you plan to purchase one.

“ So this will just be for people who are 18, and up with mild to moderate hearing impairment. So any pediatric patients or patients with severe hearing and pavement impairment, they’ll still have to go see an audiologist and get a prescription,” said Standfer. “Most people, will fall into that mild to moderate category. Then, there will be those, obviously the pediatric patients, that need to see a pediatrician and audiologist as well.”

It could be as early as mid-October when people can purchase the more affordable hearing aids over the counter. The new FDA guidelines take effect in 60 days. The FDA says it could impact approximately 30 million Americans.

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