If you know anyone who needs a hearing aid, it may help them to know that soon new rules are going into effect, that will enable hearing aids to be purchased over-the-counter.
Many hearing centers around the country are now closing due to the new rules, as the way hearing aids are sold will change dramatically.
Next year, the FDA will introduce the new regulations. Current regulations require a licensed hearing specialist to conduct formal hearing tests and fit the hearing aids. That will no longer be required. The new laws are slated to take effect by 2020.
There are currently no FDA-approved hearing aid products that can be sold over-the-counter.
Currently, hearing aids cost between $1500 and $4000 per aid (double if needed for both ears), and are often not covered by insurance. They usually need to be replaced every three to five years.
One company, Bose, has just gotten clearance from the FDA for a personal hearing aid device that can be fitted, controlled and programmed by the patient. The new hearing aids will be controlled with a smart phone.
Are over-the-counter hearing aids right for all patients with hearing problems? Some people with complex hearing issues or children may benefit by seeing a licensed hearing specialist.