Over-the-counter Hearing Aids Could Be Coming Soon to Local Pharmacies

Over-the-counter hearing aids may soon be hitting the shelves of community pharmacies nationwide. Traditionally, hearing aids have been accessible only from a licensed hearing aid dispenser or audiologist. In 2017, the FDA Reauthorization Act designated a new class of hearing aids that will be available over the counter to increase the accessibility and the affordability of hearing aids for U.S. adults. These hearing aids will be able to be purchased without a medical evaluation by a physician or a fitting by an audiologist. However, OTC hearing aids are intended only for adults who believe they have mild to moderate hearing loss. How community pharmacies will sell these new devices is still unknown, but the law will undoubtedly increase public access to hearing aids. Traditional hearing aids cost an average of more than $5,000 per pair, while OTC hearing aids will likely be less than $1,000.