Tuesday, February 7, 2023

What to Know About Selling Hearing Aids

It’s already so easy—and cheap—to get help for many deaf Americans.

Hearing aids can now be sold without a prescription from a specialist. Over-the-counter hearing aids began hitting the market in October at prices that can be thousands of dollars less than prescription hearing aids.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 30 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss. But only 20% of those who use hearing aids get an aid.

This is a more detailed analysis:


Who Can Get Help?

The FDA has approved the over-the-counter sale of hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. This can include people who have trouble hearing phone calls or who turn up the volume of the TV so that others can complain.

This may also include people who have difficulty understanding group conversations in noisy places.


ear test

Before free sales, you usually had to get a hearing test and buy hearing aids from a specialist. That is no longer true.

But it can be difficult for people to calibrate their hearing. You can still choose to see a specialist for just that test, which is usually covered by insurance, and then buy hearing aids yourself. Check your coverage before making an appointment.


Who sells the equipment?

Many leading retailers in the country are selling the hearing aids online and in physical stores.

For example, Walgreens pharmacies sell Lexie Lumen hearing aids nationwide for $799. Walmart offers over-the-counter hearing aids that range from $200 to $1,000 per pair. Your health center offers hearing tests.


What should you look for?

Look for a label on the box that states this is an over-the-counter device. Hearing aids approved for sale without a prescription by the FDA must be labeled.

This will help you distinguish over-the-counter hearing aids from cheaper devices, sometimes labeled sound or hearing amplifiers, which are called personal sound amplification products. Although often marketed to the elderly, they are designed to increase the volume of sounds for people with normal hearing in certain environments such as hunting. And amps don’t go through FDA review.


What is your cost?

According to Sterling Sheffield, an audiologist at the University of Florida, most over-the-counter hearing aids cost between $500 and $1,500 per pair. Some can cost up to $3,000, he said.

And it’s not a one time expense. They may need to be replaced every five years.


The Associated Press is supported by the Science and Education Media Group of the Department of Health and Science Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

Nation World News Desk
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