Say what? You can now buy a hearing aid without a prescription

October 25, 2022

Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss can now buy hearing aids over the counter without a physical exam, prescription or custom fitting.

On Oct. 17, 2022, a new rule by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made it possible for consumers to shop for hearing aids at their local pharmacy or big box store. The idea is to make these devices more affordable and accessible to millions.

Hearing aids sold by prescription can be expensive, ranging from $2,000 to as high as $8,000 a pair. Various news reports, including this one from CBS News, indicate that the same technology is now available in over-the-counter hearing aids that are much less expensive, ranging from $199 to $2,000 per pair.

Devices sold over-the-counter cost less partly because the price does not include the services of an audiologist for a hearing evaluation, fitting and fine-tuning. Many consumers may still want to see an audiologist and get their hearing tested before buying over-the-counter.

The Washington Post has also published an easy guide to help first-time hearing aid users find the right option for them.

How about you? Do you use hearing aids? How much did you spend? Would you be willing to try an over-the-counter solution? Share your thoughts with Voices for Affordable Health.