WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans will be able to buy hearing aids without a prescription later this fall, under a long-awaited rule finalized Tuesday.
The regulation creates a new class of hearing aids that don’t require a medical exam, a prescription and other specialty evaluations, the Food and Drug Administration said. That’s expected to increase competition and eventually lower costs. The devices will be sold online or over-the-counter at pharmacies and other retail stores.
The devices are intended for adults with mild to moderate hearing problems. The FDA estimates that nearly 30 million adults could potentially benefit from a hearing aid, though only about one-fifth of people with hearing problems currently use one.
“Today’s action by the FDA represents a significant milestone in making hearing aids more cost-effective and accessible,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, told reporters Tuesday.