Lower-cost US hearing aids go on sale today

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Major US retailers will begin selling lower-cost hearing aids without a prescription or medical exam under final Biden administration rules that take effect Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, allowing millions of Americans to buy hearing aids without seeing an audiologist and potentially saving individuals thousands of dollars.

The rules apply to hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The aids will be available directly from stores or online without medical exams, a prescription or audiologist fitting adjustment.

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The White House touted announcements of major retailers that they would begin offering the lower-priced hearing aids including from Walgreens (WBA.O) and Walmart (WMT.N) starting on Monday. CVS (CVS.N) will start selling lower-cost hearing aids online Monday and in some stores in November, the White House said.

Best Buy (BBY.N) will start selling lower-priced hearing aids online this week and in stores by the end of October, the White House added.

White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese said in August the government estimated the rule would save consumers about $2,800 per pair of hearing aids and could help “tens of millions of Americans.”

In 2017, Congress passed legislation requiring the FDA to create a category of over-the-counter hearing aids, but it was not fully implemented. In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed a broad competition executive order that instructed the Health and Human Services Department to “promote the wide availability of low-cost hearing aids.”

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Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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