• 1440 Daily Digest

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are now available to purchase over the counter in the US for people 18 years or older with mild to moderate hearing loss. A federal law, first passed in 2017, went into effect yesterday, allowing high-quality hearing aids to be purchased at pharmacies and retail stores without the need for a prescription, medical exam, or professional fitting. The over-the-counter hearing aids will be air conduction aids—worn inside or behind the ear while moving sound down the ear canal (see 101)—and have sound limits to help reduce further hearing loss. An estimated 37.5 million Americans older than 18 have some level of hearing loss, and 28.8 million could benefit from hearing aids. Hearing aids traditionally cost $1K to $4K per ear and are not typically covered by Medicare or insurance—the over-the-counter hearing aids are expected to be available at a fraction of the cost.

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