WASHINGTON D.C.: A proposal by health officials in the United States will allow the public to purchase non-prescription hearing aids, a highly touted step aimed at offering greater accessibility to hearing assistance for several million people experiencing hearing difficulties.
According to the FDA, the directive will help to end unnecessary procedures that mandate examinations to check hearing and a doctor's prescription in the case of individuals experiencing auditory impairment of the mild to moderate scale.
In keeping with the rule, the hearing devices could be purchased online or over the counter from pharmacies, as well as retail outlets.
This step follows lobbying by members of the public seeking economical and easily available aids for those encountering hearing loss.
The Food and Drug Administration stated that over 37 million people in the U.S., representing 15 percent of the adult population, experience hearing problems. Only 20 percent of those individuals use hearing aids.
Of note, people in the U.S. often spend over $5,000 for hearing aids and having the instrument fitted. Moreover, insurance barely covers these costs, while Medicare does not pay for listening devices.
"Today we open the door to an easier process and a more affordable process," said Xavier Becerra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
However, regulatory authorities said the new regulations would not substitute for medically prescribed hearing aids.