FDA proposes hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter

Soon United States could have hearing aids being sold over-the-counter with no need for prescription

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A new proposal has been put forwards by the health regulators that will allow the Americans to buy hearing aids without the need of a prescription. The move is something that many people were looking forward to and will help millions of people, who have hearing problems, have access to the hearing aids. As per the Food and Drug Administration, the proposed rule will emit the need for people to undergo hearing exams and the need for prescription who have mild-to moderate hearing loss.

As per the new plan, the people who need these hearing aids, can order the devices online or can also buy them from the pharmacies as over-the-counter items. For many years, the health experts have been pressurizing to make the devices cheaper and also easily accessible. As per the FDA, more than 37 percent of the Americans face hearing problem. But only one-fifth of the people who can benefit from them actually use one.

One of the biggest obstacle is the cost of the hearing aids. From buying the actual device to the fitting services, an average user of a hearing aid has to shell out more than $5000. Moreover, the insurance coverage is limited, the Medicare does not pay for the hearing aids and only the diagnostic tests are covered. AS per the officials in the United States, when the changes by the FDA are finalized, it could trigger competition that would help to bring down the prices. Xavier Becerra, the Health and Human Services Secretary while talking to the reporters said that they have opened the door to an easier and a more affordable process.

Talking about the proposal, the agency will be taking public comments for 90 days before the new rules are finalized. However, the FDA officials have not specified as to when the new devices would hit the store shelves. A number of consumer electronics companies have manufactured low-cost sound amplification devices, but the United States have constantly bared them from being marketed as hearing aids.

Photo Credits: Pixabay