The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to make it easier for people with mild to moderate hearing loss to access hearing aid and make them affordable for everyone. Last month, the FDA proposed a new rule that will allow this to happen. The overall goal is to make hearing aids available to everyone without needing an exam, ear fitting or prescription.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 38 million Americans suffer from a hearing impairment. However, only one-fifth of those who can benefit from using hearing aids use them. This is because hearing aids can be too expensive to purchase. The cost of a hearing aid is typically $1,000 to $5,000 and could end up costing more if they come with high end features (Bluetooth wireless connectivity). Also, hearing aids typically are not covered by traditional Medicare so an individual using hearing aids would pay out of pocket for them.
With the proposal of this new rule, the FDA is hoping to create more competition by making it easier for up-and-coming hearing aid makers to enter and help advance hearing aid technology. Hearing aids would be sold in traditional retail (CVS, pharmacies) and online stores instead of purchasing them at your audiologists’ office. For example, in 2018 the FDA allowed Bose to market the first self-fitting and hearing aid that was controlled by the individual using the hearing aid. According to its website, a pair of hearing aids sold by Bose goes for about $850. By selling hearing aids online and at pharmacies instead of your doctor’s office you are giving the consumer the greater choice at reasonable prices.
Even though the FDA has proposed this new rule it is not yet finalized. While you wait on the news of this rule it is still important to use your hearing aids. If you are need of an upgrade, fitting or need your hearing tested, call the experts at New Generation Hearing Centers for a free consultation.