If you are a hearing aid user, you will be happy to hear that they just became available without a prescription! Even better, you can purchase a set for prices as low as $199 over the counter. Gone are the days of waiting for a prescription to improve your hearing capabilities or replace broken aids.
So, what does this mean for you exactly?
Before, we could only access hearing aids with a prescription from an auditory specialist. Generally, these devices cost thousands of dollars, even with a prescription. But now companies like Walmart promise to sell these audio-enhancing devices for prices as low as $199.
Dr. Frank Lin of John Hopkins University predicts that the hearing aid industry may need a few years to establish itself and sort out. But rest assured that before long, more and more retailers will make hearing aids available in stores near you. Lin also believes that prices will lower even more significantly in the next few years.
Over-the-counter aids will cost less mostly due to the fact that they will not be specifically tuned and fitted by an audiologist. However, manufacturers will make it possible for users to tune the aids for themselves thanks to phone apps and software.
Sony has announced OTC hearing aids manufactured at a South African-based company called hearX, which also creates Lexie devices.
Bose also plans to collaborate with hearX to develop Lexie hearing devices. Bose will partner with retailers such as Walgreens, Walmart, and Best Buy to develop hearing aids with hearX’s Lexie devices.
So, there will be no shortage of options to choose from, as the over-the-counter hearing aids market expands and grows.
About 37 million Americans struggle with their hearing. However, only 1 in 4 Americans who need these auditory-enhancing devices are able to access hearing aids.
This push to make hearing aids available over the counter will be huge in allowing new demographics of Americans access to better hearing.
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