Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act

Q. I am hard of hearing and keep reading that hearing aids might become more affordable. How and when is this supposed to happen? My last set of hearing aids was nearly $5000 and needs to be replaced.

A. There is good news here. The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act was passed and signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017. The law directs the FDA to issue regulations making prescription-quality hearing aids available without a medical examination or prescription for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Thanks to the new law, the FDA is required to create rules ensuring that new over-the-counter hearing aids meet the same high standards for safety, labeling and manufacturing as all medical devices. As hearing aids are sold over the counter, the cost will decrease, and we should see more innovation in technology. Consumer Reports recently provided an excellent article on these devices. Google CR.org/hearing aid to find the reference.

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