This has been a long time coming! About time!
**F.D.A. Clears Path for Hearing Aids to be Sold Over the Counter**
**The agency’s action opens the door to cheaper, more accessible devices without a prescription or medical exam.**
**By Christina Jewett, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2022**
**The Food and Drug Administration decided on Tuesday to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter and without a prescription to adults, a long-sought wish of consumers frustrated by expensive exams and devices.**
**The high cost of hearing aids, which are not covered by basic Medicare, has discouraged millions of Americans who have hearing loss from buying the devices. Health experts say that untreated hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline and depression in older people. About 30 million Americans experience hearing loss, but only about one-fifth of them get help.**
**Under the new rule, people with mild to moderate hearing loss should be able to buy hearing aids online and in retail stores as soon as October, without being required to see a doctor for an exam to get a prescription. ...Federal officials estimated $2,800 in savings on the cost of a pair of hearing aids. ...** [end quote]
This is a tremendous benefit for the millions of Americans with hearing loss who can’t afford the thousands of dollars for audiology exams and hearing aids under the current system. It’s similar to the inexpensive reading glasses that are available for those who can’t afford custom eyeglasses.
The Macro impact is clear: studies have shown that poor hearing and eyesight are correlated with a higher risk of dementia. Correcting these defects can save the massive societal costs of treating dementia.