Hearing aids will soon be offered over the counter

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 4:02 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Hearing aids are now more accessible. On Tuesday, the FDA approved hearing aids can now be sold over the counter, without a prescription. The New York Times states the over-the-counter devices will also cost less.

“If you bought them over the counter there would be no guarantee you can use them for six weeks or so. So if they didn’t work you would be stuck with them but maybe they do give the time,” said Touchmark resident Marie Renner.

Before, in order to receive hearing aids, patients had to visit an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist and be prescribed the device. Many people found less expensive amplification devices, but they didn’t do the job properly.

“They would always say: ‘well I think it’s time to try real hearing aids’. So, it’s been kind of a benefit for us,” said hearing instrument specialist Cheryl Engh.

Thrifty White Pharmacy in Mandan does not know if it’s going to start selling hearing aids, but employees see the benefit of providing them for its customers.

“Patients who have mild to moderate hearing loss definitely would benefit from the over-the-counter hearing aids. Should they see an audiologist, yes. But for people who have issues with access or even cost, this is a great option for them,” said pharmacist Tasha Hahka.

A big push for over-the-counter hearing aids comes from the price. Hearing aids can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. Regular Medicare doesn’t cover the devices.

“It might be profitable for those individuals who have invested in that in the beginning, but I think that it will fade because of the lack of service, the lack of professional help,” said Engh.

Hearing aids will be offered over-the-counter in about 60 days.

Miracle Ear offers free hearing tests.