Listen up! Hearing aids will soon be available over the counter

With the FDA finalizing regulations, hearing aids are expected to be available over the counter in 2022.
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 2:03 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Most people with hearing loss wait years before going to the doctor for an exam.

“The longer you wait, you know, it impacts your life,” said Barbara Kelley, the executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Kelley said sometimes people hold off because they can’t afford a hearing aid, don’t have access a doctor, or they don’t realize they have a problem at all.

“Some people think oh, you know, it’s a sign of aging,” she said.

Soon, people can buy hearing aids over the counter. Lawmakers passed a bill to make this happen four years ago, and the Food and Drug Administration is just now finalizing the regulations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored the bill.

“When you have a hard time of hearing, it affects your job, it affects your relationships with other people, and it can even lead to isolation,” Grassley said.

Audiologist Dr. Lindsay Creed is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. She told us the group advises you should still get a professional exam even if you want to purchase an over-the-counter hearing aid.

“I think any time a medical device is made available direct to [the] consumer, we’re worried about the safety and effectiveness,” Creed said.

You can expect to see hearing aids available over the counter next year.

Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim and Supervisor of Videography Timothy Knapp contributed to this report.

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