An unprecedented measure will benefit 90% of the population with hearing loss. Starting this Monday, adults with hearing problems will be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription in the United States.
The wait is over for millions of Americans. Starting this Monday, October 17, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss will be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription in the United States, a measure that will benefit 90% of the population with hearing loss.
Under a rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), instead of having a prescription and custom fitting from a hearing healthcare professional, adults will be able to purchase hearing aids directly from a store or online, except for minors.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that only 16% of the tens of millions of people in the country wear hearing aids compared to a sizable segment of patients who need them.
It is estimated that 1 in 8 people in the country over the age of 12 have hearing loss in both ears, and the average increases with age. A quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss and that increases to 50% around the age of 75.
The measure comes after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order focused on promoting competition last July. In addition, he invited the FDA to allow the over-the-counter sale of hearing aids.
The FDA rule allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter did not change the coverage of the devices. While many insurers cover treatment after limb loss or even the cost of Viagra, most don’t cover hearing aids. Even most Medicare plans don’t either. Only about half of state Medicaid programs cover it.
Five companies are estimated to have controlled 90% of the global hearing aid market, resulting in less price competition.
Hearing aid prices often vary. They range from around $1,400 to $6,000 per ear, depending on the technology.
A study published by the medical journal JAMA showed that on average people spend at least $4,000 out of pocket on devices for both ears.
With the recent change, it is expected that many more companies will enter the market, which will open the doors to the development of lower-priced products as well as offers that will make them more accessible.
The White House said over-the-counter headphones will be available at Walgreen, CVS, Walmart, Best Buy and Hy-Vee, with models as low as $200 a pair.
The Sony brand offers a couple of models that are combined with an application that allows you to customize the settings and find additional support. The CRE-C10 model retails for $999.99 and has a battery life of up to 70 hours of continuous use.
For its part, Best Buy will offer about 10 free over-the-counter headphones at nearly 300 stores nationwide that, unlike FDA-standard devices, only improve sound.
Bose also offers the B1 model for $899 a pair. The $999 B2 adds a rechargeable battery that runs for up to 18 hours. Both models are Bluetooth enabled, so the user can pair them with a mobile app for assistance.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.